Award–winning journalist Andrea Bernstein is the Metro Editor for WNYC News. She has previously served as Political Director, Director of Transportation Nation, and Senior Reporter.
UPDATED WITH AUDIO President Barack Obama is calling the FAA shutdown a "lose-lose-lose situation." And he added: "My expectation and I think the American people’s expectation is this gets resolved before the end of this week."
The President said Congress wouldn't have to return to Washington to act, but could do it through the procedural agreement, unanimous consent.
The FAA has been shutdown for nearly two weeks after the GOP-led Congress added new cuts to a routine extension vote, and the Democratic Senate accused the House of trying to gain leverage in a dispute over labor laws.
The President made his remarks before a White House meeting with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.
Here's a full transcript. You can listen to his remarks here.
"A good example of how undone work here in Washington can have an adverse impact on that economy is what’s going on with the Federal Aviation Administration. And I’m going to be hearing from Ray LaHood about the situation that is looming as a consequence of Congress not acting.
Some of you may be aware of the fact that the FAA routinely gets its authorities extended through Congress. It has happened 20 times since 2007.
This time Congress has decided to play some politics with it. And as a consequence they left town without getting this extension done.
Here is what this means: Thousands of FAA workers being furloughed, including safety inspectors. It also means projects all across the country involving tens of thousands of construction workers being suspended because congress didn’t get its work done. And that means folks who are on construction sites doing work bringing home a paycheck now potentially find themselves going home without one. And important projects all across the country are left undone.
Here’s what also happens it turns out: This extension gives the authority to collect fees from airlines. The airlines are still collecting these fees because it’s priced into their tickets but they are not turning them over to the federal government and the federal government stands to lose $200 million a week. That would be a billion dollars at a time when we are worrying about how we pay for things from education to head start. nd we don’t anticipate it would be easy to get that money back even though the airlines are collecting it. Thy are keeping it .
This is a lose-lose-lose situation that can be easily solved if congress comes back into town and does its job. They don’t even have to come back into town. The House and the Senate could through a procedural agreement basically do this through unanimous consent
They can have the fights they want to have when they get back don’t put people the livelihoods of thousand at people at a risk, don’t put projects at risk, and don’t let a billion dollars, at a time when we are scrambling for every dollar we can get, left on the table because Congress did not act .
I am urging the House and the Senate to care of this.
This is an example of a self inflicted wound that is unnecessary.
My expectation and I think the America people’s expectation is this gets resolved before the end of this week."