On behalf of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), I urge you to support the comprehensive appropriations package that will be voted on later today and end the needless and costly government shutdown. The package funds six federal agencies, including the Department of Transportation (DOT), through the end of the fiscal year, and funds the Department of Homeland Security until February 8. While we believe that many transportation accounts are in need of significant increases, the legislation being considered today seeks to find common ground by offering funding levels previously supported by the Senate, and most importantly will allow federal employees to return to work on behalf of the American people.
TTD has consistently argued that our nation’s transportation network – if properly funded – can be an engine for middle-class job creation, support economic expansion and provide mobility options for commuters and businesses eager to connect supply chains and ship goods to customers. Unfortunately, these benefits will not be realized in communities across the country while DOT and other federal agencies remain shuttered.
This partial government shutdown means that grant-making operations are halted and vital federal resources are not flowing to state and local transportation authorities. The shutdown has also restricted Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) operations, with thousands of FAA workers, including safety inspectors and other professionals who help run our National Airspace System, barred from going to work. The shutdown also threatens to exacerbate the shortage of certified air traffic controllers by shuttering the FAA training academy. Even accident investigations by the National Transportation Safety Board are being slowed because of the failure to keep the federal government funded.
The impact of this government shutdown is being felt more acutely by the hundreds of thousands of federal employees who are barred from working, or who are working without any knowledge of when they will be paid. Now nearly two full weeks long, it is past time for Congress and the President to find a sensible solution and end the shutdown. This spending package offers that sensible solution. I urge you to vote yes.
Larry I. Willis