US House passes bill to end ATC furloughs

Washington DC
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The US House of Representatives has passed a bill that will end ongoing air traffic controller furloughs, shortly after the bill cleared the Senate on 25 April.

The House passed the bill today with 361 votes for and 41 against. President Barack Obama must sign the bill before it becomes law.

Introduced in the Senate late on 25 April, the bill will allow Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to transfer up to $253 million from the Federal Aviation Administration's airport improvement grants' surplus funds to restore staffing levels.

The FAA implemented furloughs among its employees on 21 April, as part of a broader move to reduce the federal government's budget in a process called sequestration. The reduced number of air traffic controllers has led to several flight delays at certain airports.

Obama's administration indicates that he would sign the bill, but the White House press secretary Jay Carney has called the bill a "band-aid solution" that does not solve the US government's budget problems, reports say.

Trade association Airlines for America welcomed the passing of the bill in the House, calling it a "bi-partisan, common-sense approach".