House GOP bill would cut FAA's budget 5 percent

By JOAN LOWY | September 9, 2011 | 12:15 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Republicans plan to attach a 5 percent cut in the Federal Aviation Administration's budget to legislation necessary to prevent another shutdown of the agency, according to a GOP summary of the bill provided to lobbyists.

It was unclear if Senate Democrats would balk at the reduction. The summary says the cut from this year's FAA budget is in line with the bipartisan deficit reduction bill recently signed into law and a White House budget directive to agencies last month.

The plan drew a swift objection from the head of the trade association that represents U.S. airports. One program facing a cut awards construction and safety grants to airports.

"It simply doesn't make any sense at a time when both parties are focused on creating jobs," said Greg Principato, president of the Airports Council International-North America, in a statement.

He said the plan also raises questions about the agency's ability to pay for certain safety projects.

Rep. John Mica of Florida, chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, has said he would introduce a bill Friday to extend FAA's operating authority beyond Sept. 16. That would give the House and Senate only one week to resolve any differences.

The House bill would run through year's end and give back pay to nearly 4,000 employees furloughed in the FAA's partial shutdown for two weeks this summer, according to the summary.

A dispute over rural air service subsidies led to that impasse.

Since 2007, the FAA has limped along through a series of 21 short-term extensions.