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AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka On Republican Hostage Taking

As of today, it is clear that the Republican Party and the Tea Party have become one and the same when it comes to federal fiscal policy. House Republicans have decided that they will shut down critical public services, stiff public servants, hold America’s credit rating hostage and kill off jobs because they are upset that President Obama decisively defeated Mitt Romney last November. That some Republicans are participating in this fiasco against their better judgment does not obscure their responsibility. All responsible voices must speak and act against policy making by hostage taking.

It’s bad enough that Republicans’ intellectually dishonest austerity policies have starved the United States of the public investment necessary for shared prosperity in the future. Sequester was and remains a complicated name for a disastrous policy. But somehow Republicans have managed to go from pushing irresponsible policies to something even worse.

Shutting down the government would weaken demand, reduce employment and roil markets. Punishing federal workers and taxpayers to prove a point is a temper tantrum worthy of a four year old, not a policy choice of a responsible political party.

We stand with President Obama as he rejects unequivocally all Republican hostage taking. And we agree with the President that it would be a disastrous precedent for our democracy if we have any negotiations over the debt ceiling.

This is the moment for working people to bring pressure on behalf of a shared, popular and responsible agenda.  Repeal the job-killing sequester. Reject any cuts to Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid benefits.  Protect food aid for the poor.  And create jobs and raise hundreds of billions of dollars to invest in our future by ending all tax subsidies for outsourcing.

National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) Condemns Government Shutdown

control towerWASHINGTON – The National Air Traffic Controllers Association today condemned the shutdown of the federal government and called on Congress to end it immediately.

As a result of the shutdown, 3,000 of NATCA’s aviation safety professionals, vital to the daily function, maintenance and safety of the National Airspace System (NAS) have been furloughed. 

“It is unacceptable that thousands of our aviation safety professionals have been forced to stay home due to partisan posturing in Congress,” said NATCA President Paul Rinaldi. “I implore Congress to reach an agreement to end this shutdown, which is hurtful to our nation’s aviation system, our economy and the American people.”

During the shutdown, air traffic controllers are working without pay, but essential support staff specialists have been furloughed. Rinaldi said this is akin to a surgeon performing an operation without any staff to prep the room, clean the equipment or provide support during the surgery. In addition, controllers who train new hires will be unable to continue much of the training process. This could result in high controller attrition as frustrated trainees fall further behind in the training process. Controller hiring was already frozen due to sequestration.

Below are just a few of the thousands of projects that will be delayed or halted due to the government shutdown and furloughing of aviation safety professionals.

  • A delay in the opening of a new runway at Chicago O’Hare Airport.
  • A flight inspection scheduled for Janesville, Wis., Airport has been shut down due to the furlough of key personnel. Without an inspection, the approach into the airport will eventually be declared inoperative. This results in inefficiency for air traffic controllers and pilots, and a reduction in the margin of safety.
  • Thousands of certification projects performed by NATCA Aircraft Certification Engineers are now suspended.
  • A halt in the ELD Power Cable Replacement at Dallas Fort Worth Airport (DFW). The cable supplies power to the navigational aids on the diagonal runways at DFW. Construction planned for January will now be delayed for an undetermined amount of time.
  • A hold on hundreds of Aircraft Certification Office projects. This will result in a delay in the approval of safety related equipment modifications to aircraft going through the certification process.
  • A stop for work on Airworthiness Directives, NTSB safety recommendations and other vital safety related work performed by Aircraft Certification Engineers. This could delay the issuance and implementation of mandated safety fixes to aircraft.
  •  A delay of all projects affecting surveillance radars that feed the 100 busiest airports in the NAS.
  •  A halt in the development and implementation of navigational aids for a new runway at Fort Lauderdale airport.
  •  A halt on several runway safety projects, including glide slope relocation at Long Beach, Calif.
  • A delay in major mechanical upgrades scheduled for three air traffic control En Route Centers.

NATCA MEDIA CONTACT: Sarah Dunn, 315-796-1560

NH Congresswomen Speak Out Against Shutting Down The Government By The GOP

Carol Shea-Porter_Official.2010-300x288Shea-Porter Statement on the Federal Government Shutdown 

WASHINGTON, DCCongresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) issued the following statement after House Republicans chose to shut the federal government down rather than allow a vote on a clean bill to fund the government at current levels for six weeks:

“In a reckless attempt to obstruct the new health care law and extract an ideological laundry list of demands, House Republicans have shut down the federal government. These Tea Party tactics are harmful to the economy and they are an unacceptable way to govern.

“The House of Representatives has voted 45 times to obstruct, delay, defund, or repeal the Affordable Care Act. I am happy to debate the merits of the health care law through an open legislative process, but to hold vital government functions hostage unless we defund or delay the health care law is staggeringly irresponsible.

“This government shutdown will hurt New Hampshire families. Workers across the Granite State will be furloughed.  Seniors’ applications to begin receiving Social Security and Medicare benefits could be delayed. Businesses applying for loans through the Small Business Administration will have to wait.

“I have been very clear that I am willing to work with anyone to improve the Affordable Care Act, but I will not dismantle the health care law in exchange for funding the government. Funding the government is not a negotiating point. It’s Congress’ responsibility.

“I am deeply disappointed but not surprised that Tea Party Republicans have thrown our country into yet another unnecessary crisis. It’s time for Speaker John Boehner to drop this poisonous brand of politics and allow a vote on a clean bill to fund the government.”

Ann kuster head shot LGKuster Statement on Republican Government Shutdown

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) released the following statement in response to House Republicans forcing a shutdown of the federal government.

“House Republicans’ insistence on putting partisan ideology ahead of basic common sense has forced a government shutdown that will hurt real people in real ways. Some of my colleagues across the aisle have concluded that they would rather score political points at the expense of Granite State families and businesses than find actual solutions to the challenges we face. This is the height of irresponsibility.

“Instead of doubling-down on their all-or-nothing demands, House Republicans need to help pass a responsible bill to fund the government and provide certainty for New Hampshire families and businesses. I am hopeful that common sense will prevail so that the government can resume serving the American people and Congress can focus on solving problems instead of creating them. We can’t afford to keep lurching from crisis to crisis.”

What Do You Mean My Flight Is Canceled Due To SEQUESTRATION???

The newsrooms are a buzz with the information that was just released from the Federal Aviation Administration on the potential impacts of the Sequestration.   Sequestration is the name given to the draconian cuts that are going to rip apart the government and our economy at the same time.

Today Department of Transportation Secretary, Ray LaHood, released a letter to the aviation community highlighting the impacts.

1.  Furloughs of 11-22 days between April and Oct 1st for all 47,000 FAA Employees.

2. Eliminate midshifts at 60 towers across the country

3. Close over 100 air traffic control towers (link to potential closure list)

4. Reduce preventative maintenance and equipment provisioning and support for all National Airspace System equipment.

These impacts will create massive delays for air travelers, and any business that relies on aviation to move their people or product.  Aviation contributes $1.3 Trillion to the national economy.  With over 70,000 operations every single day and 130 million operations annually, the FAA oversees all of them.

Sec. Lahood also points out that flights to the major airports,  JFK, IAD, SFO, LAX could see delays of 90 minutes or more durning peak times.   Those delays will only create more waves throughout the system as gridlock sets in.

The President of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, Paul Rinaldi, had this to say after hearing the news.

“Today’s announcement from the FAA unfortunately confirms the concerns we have been warning about for months – sequestration will significantly and perhaps permanently undermine the capacity of the National Airspace System. The fact that they will not just be furloughing critical FAA personnel but closing air traffic control towers means the system will be even more compromised than anticipated. We share the FAA’s commitment to preserving the safety of the system despite these draconian cuts. Safety is always the top priority of air traffic controllers, but the reality is this – safety will be preserved at the expense of operations across the country. Once towers are closed, the airports they serve may be next. Additionally, we believe the delay estimates provided by the FAA are conservative and the potential for disruptions could be much higher.

“Every one of these actions by the FAA will have an impact far beyond inconveniencing travelers. Local economies will be diminished, military exercises will be cancelled and jobs will be lost. There’s no telling how long these effects will be felt because many of these service reductions may not be reversed. The National Air Traffic Controllers Association continues to urge the nation’s policy-makers to find a solution that prevents or mitigates the impact of sequestration in a way that does not diminish the world’s safest and most efficient national airspace system.”

These 47,000 FAA Employees are real people.  They have families, children, and mortgages.   Like many Americans, they probably cannot afford to be forced out of work for an entire month without pay.  Yet this is what Congress is forcing them to do.

We must take action now to stop these draconian cuts from every happening.   Call your elected Representative and tell them to stop this now!  Call your Senator.  Call the White House.  Tell them all that these cuts are hurting hard working families throughout the country.  Tell them how these cuts are going to directly effect you.

Congress created these Sequestration cuts and they can take them away.  It is time to stop playing chicken with our economy and the lives of millions of federal employees and their families.  End the sequestration now, while you still can!

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