FAA shutdown ends, but anxiety remains

(Photo by Patcard/Flickr)

The Senate took less than a minute to put the FAA back in business, passing legislation to end the shutdown that was signed by President Barack Obama Friday afternoon.

The shutdown left 4,000 workers on furloughs and cost the federal government millions of dollars in lost revenue from plane ticket sales.

But the deal only covers the time until mid-September, when Congress returns from recess. Gail Orrendorf-Weiner, a lawyer for the FAA, has little faith left in Congress.

"Like many other people I am not going to soon forget what it was like to be the collateral damage of what I think is a broken political process," she said.

The married mother of two didn’t receive a paycheck for two weeks..

"We had already started dipping into reserves because we know what our expenses are and what wasn't going to be coming in," she said.

She says she'll never understand the partisan standoff. The agency hasn’t received a long-term authorization since 2007, instead subsiding one short-term extension after another, 20 in total.

A standoff between Democrats and Republicans in Congress over how to save $16 million a year caused the shutdown. The government lost $30 million a day in uncollected taxes. Over the two-week shutdown, that adds up to $400 million.

"This not governing, this is kids throwing sand at each other in a sandbox," Orrendorf-Weiner said.

"It made no sense, it made no sense from any direction from any political leaning it doesn't it made no sense,” she said.

In addition to 4,000 FAA employees, 70,000 construction workers were also left without pay. Orrendorf-Weiner is angry with members of Congress.

"I have a family and also do a job and I do it well to the best of my ability and you just don't care about me,” she said.

Finally, a compromise was reached and Senators Webb from Virginia and Cardin from Maryland approved the bill in a pro-forma session Friday.