Press Releases

WASHINGTON – Today, with two days remaining until the government funding deadline and the expiration of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) current authorization, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) issued the following statement on the need to fund the government and prevent an especially catastrophic shutdown for air travel. Without action, more than 13,000 air traffic controllers and 50,000 Transportation Security Officers, along with thousands of other FAA and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) personnel would be forced to work without pay, and important trainings and technology upgrades would stop:

Every government shutdown is ill-timed, but a shutdown on the same day the FAA’s reauthorization lapses would be especially catastrophic for air travel. In Virginia alone, a shutdown would mean thousands of TSA officers and air traffic controllers will be forced to work without pay. We’ve seen in previous shutdowns the havoc that this can wreak for travelers, including long flight delays and extreme wait times at airports. An FAA reauthorization lapse would halt technology upgrades and the training of new air traffic controllers. This is a safety issue that is entirely preventable. It’s time for Congress to do its job and fund the government and continue other important work, including reauthorizing the FAA.”   

Virginia is home to 1,913 TSA agents and 633 air traffic controllers who would be required to continue their critical work without pay until a funding deal is reached.

If the FAA’s authorization expires, the agency could miss out on $50 million a day in tax revenue to facilitate smooth and safe air travel experiences.  Air traffic controller hiring and training process would also be disrupted, further slowing air traffic, even after a spending deal is reached. The FAA is typically reauthorized every five years.