FAA Shutdown Complicated by Debt Negotiations

By JOAN LOWY | July 27, 2011 | 3:59 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) — The struggle to reach a debt deal is hindering efforts to end the partial shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid hasn't taken steps to force a vote on bill that's needed to restore the agency's operating authority.

An aide to the Nevada Democrat says one reason is that Reid doesn't want to tie up the Senate in what could be a time-consuming fight. That would help clear the way for a vote if negotiators settle on a debt deal.

The aide also says Democrats aren't hurrying to pass an FAA bill because they expect House Republicans to reject it.

The aide wasn't authorized to speak publicly and asked not to be named.