It wasn’t exactly a primal scream, but Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood sounded decidedly ticked this afternoon over the congressional standoff that has idled almost 4,000 Federal Aviation Administration workers.
That impasse is now in its tenth day, with no apparent end in sight. Amping up the urgency is that Congress is set to leave by week’s end for its customary August break. Meaning that, without a quick resolution, those FAA employees could stay furloughed without pay through at least Labor Day. Also affected, according to LaHood, are some 70,000 construction workers employed on FAA contracts snarled by the dispute.
During this afternoon’s conference call with reporters, LaHood and FAA Deputy Administrator Michael Huerta didn’t have much news, apart from acknowledging conversations with top members of Congress and staff. But LaHood, a former House member, pointedly chided lawmakers to act before heading out on “vacation.”
Members of Congress, of course, don’t like the v-word. For the Senate, the preferred term of art is “state work period.” House members officially label the break a “district work period.”