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The Willis Report

FAA is Washington's New Battle

If you thought the debt deal meant Congress was back on the same page... think again! They're still incapable of agreeing on simply anything - including what to do about the Federal Aviation Administration.

Let's give you some background: the agency shutdown is in its 13th day - it has idled four thousand FAA employees and some 70,000 construction workers.

Why? Because Congress hasn't approved funding for the FAAand don't expect a deal anytime soon because Congress is on vacation.

Good news for travelers - airport inspectors are still working - traveling from location-to-location... but on their own dime.

The shutdown also means the federal government isn't collecting airline ticket sales tax - costing the government $30 million dollars a day.

We can afford it. We don't have any financial issues right now right? So let's get down to brass tacks - what is needed to get this thing moving?

Well, House Republicans have passed a bill that extends FAA funding through next month. The senate however - is having none of it!

The bill ends $14 million in subsidies to 16 rural airports, most of which are in states represented by Democrats.

Of course, one of those airports is in Ely, Nevadayou know Harry Reid's home state!

The breaks the big bad Republicans want to eliminate here are $3,700 per passenger, at an airport that only has 500 passengers a year.

That's nearly $2 million! So despite more wasteful spending - the Democrats are playing the victim and acting like those on the right refuse to play along.

They are offering a "clean" spending bill - with no mention of the rural airports - an issue they reiterated today.

Despite optimism expressed by President Obama this afternoon, I wouldn't hold my breath. Because once again - no one in Washington is working.

Technically they're not in recess - but that's to tie Obama's hands, not to get work done for the American people.

Have these men and women learned nothing from the last weeks and months of the debt debate?? How about instead of a month-long vacation - that none of the rest of us in the country get to have - you get back to work and solve this issueone in a long list of many.

By the way, we would never be in this situation if our airports were privately run companies... I'm just saying!

Be sure to catch the Willis Report on the FOX Business Network every weekday from 5-6pm ET.

Gerri Willis joined Fox Business Network (FBN) in March of 2010. Willis is an anchor and personal finance reporter for the network.

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