(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama accused lawmakers Wednesday of playing politics with the extension to fund the FAA and urged Congress to resolve the shutdown before the end of the week, saying this is another example of a “self-inflicted wound” on the American economy.
“This is a lose-lose-lose situation that can be easily solved if Congress gets back into town and does its job,” Obama said during a White House Cabinet meeting.
Congress left on vacation this week without passing legislation to fund the FAA, leaving nearly 4,000 FAA employees furloughed and close to 30,000 construction workers out of a job. “The FAA routinely gets its authorities extended through Congress. It's happened 20 times since 2007. This time, Congress has decided to play some politics with it,” Obama said.
The president called on Congress to resolve the issue before the end of the week. “Don't put the livelihoods of thousands of people at risk. Don't put projects at risk. And don't let a billion dollars, at a time when we're scrambling for every dollar we can, get left on the table because Congress did not act,” Obama said, noting that the House and the Senate could pass an extension through a procedural agreement and “have the fights that they want to have when they get back.”
The president also chastised the airlines for continuing to collect a federal tax on tickets and said the government is losing critical tax revenue.
“The airlines are still collecting these fees because it's priced into their tickets, but they're not turning them over to the federal government and the federal government stands to lose $200 million a week,” he said. “That would be a billion dollars at a time when we're worrying about how we pay for everything from education to Head Start. And we don't anticipate it's going to be easy to get that money back. Even though the airlines are collecting it, they're keeping it.”
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