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Congressman Stephen Fincher

Representing the 8th District of TENNESSEE

Rep. Fincher Statement on the FAA’s Needless Furloughs

Apr 24, 2013
Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                  
                                       Contact: Elizabeth Lauten
Wednesday, April 24, 2013                                                                Phone: (202) 225-4714

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Stephen Fincher (R-Frog Jump) today issued the following statement in reaction to thousands of flight delays across the country as a result of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Administration furloughing thousands of air traffic controllers and disrupting the flight plans of the traveling public, as part of sequestration. The Administration knew about the potential for sequestration since November 2011, and waited until April 16, 2013 – just days before the furloughs were set to begin – to inform Congress and U.S. airlines of its plans and warn that major delays could result:

“Over the past few days, thousands of Americans have been stuck on tarmacs across the country because of the Obama Administration’s lack of planning. Frankly, the FAA’s mismanagement of sequestration is embarrassing. Domestic flights are down 27% since 2000, and the FAA's budget is up 110% over the last 15 years – surely they could’ve managed to make cuts that would be less burdensome on the American people. After all, they have the flexibility to cut costs elsewhere – from contracts, supplies, travel and consultants.

“What’s most upsetting is that the FAA has known about the sequester for nearly two years, yet chose to wait to the eleventh hour to give Congress and the airline industry notice about its implementation plans. This lack of consideration of the American people further proves the Administration is more concerned with playing politics than putting the country first and finding real, substantive cuts.  Our goal shouldn't be to score political points on the backs of traveling Americans. It should be to fix the problem immediately.”

Note: There are $2.7 billion in non-personnel operations costs – such as contracts, travel, supplies, and consultants – that should be examined before FAA personnel are furloughed.

Examples of non-personnel costs include:

  • Nearly $500 million for consultants
  • $325 million in supplies and travel
  • The FAA has 46 aircraft that cost $143 million to operate