Republican and Democratic leaders in the US Congress on Friday reached a deal for the long-term funding of the Federal Aviation Administration, Senate majority leader Harry Reid said in a statement.
"I am pleased that we were able to resolve the major obstacles to an agreement in a manner that protects American workers, and clears the way for a long-term extension of the Federal Aviation Administration," Reid said.
"While some issues remain, there is no reason we cannot resolve them in the coming days and avoid any risk of another FAA shutdown," added the Democrat from Nevada.
The deal is a success for both sides during an extremely tense time between Democrats and Republicans as the race for the White House -- and for control of Congress -- kicks into high gear ahead of the November elections.
The Republicans are looking to oust Democratic incumbent President Barack Obama, maintain their majority in the House of Representatives and retake control of the Senate.
"Every issue does not have to be a fight," Reid said.
"This is a good example of the common-sense results that Democrats and Republicans can produce when they work together, and put the interests of the American people ahead of scoring political points."
The cash crunch forced the FAA to temporarily lay off 4,000 non-essential personnel and halt work for 70,000 workers on airport construction projects, though top officials said air safety was not at risk.
In addition to keeping large numbers of workers off the job of repairing crumbling aviation infrastructure, the dispute was costing the government $200 million a week in lost tax revenues.
A stopgap solution was reached in August, and Congress had until January to find a more permanent solution.
The Senate and House had been at odds over subsidies for rural air services -- notably benefiting the home states of some powerful Democratic senators -- and a dispute over labor standards and unions in the aviation industry.
Â© 2012 AFP
Date: Jan 21, 2012