Almost 4,000 Federal Aviation Administration employees furloughed this summer will be reimbursed for salary lost during that time, according to Rep. Frank LoBiondo, R-N.J. The back pay will be included in a mid-October paycheck after Transportation Department lawyers concluded that congressional approval was not needed, LoBiondo said in a news release Friday.
Department officials could not be reached for confirmation late Friday, but in a separate statement, the president of the FAA Managers Association called the news “a great outcome” for employees.
“We congratulate and commend [Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt] for discovering the legal mechanisms to bring the back pay issue to a close,” David Conley said. “It is the right thing to do.”
The partial shutdown, which began in late July, occurred after lawmakers deadlocked on a short-term funding extension for the FAA. Although air traffic controllers continued to work, employees involved in construction grant administration and implementation of the Next Generation air traffic control system were sent home for about two weeks until lawmakers reached a short-term compromise.
Also temporarily halted were some 250 airport improvement and construction projects; the government lost about $350 million in airline ticket tax revenue that it no longer had the authority to collect. Congress has since passed another funding extension that will carry the FAA through the end of January.