Although Congress enacted a five-year Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization bill on Oct. 3, 2018, the Agency also requires annual appropriations in order to provide the funding to continue to operate. The FAA receives its funding via the Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development (THUD) appropriations bill. Congress has not yet enacted a THUD appropriations bill for Fiscal Year (FY) 2019, which began on Oct. 1. In order to prevent a partial government shutdown on Oct. 1, Congress passed a short-term continuing resolution (CR) that expires on Friday, Dec. 7.
NATCA currently is expecting Congress to pass by unanimous consent and the President to sign a two-week CR to avoid a partial government shutdown. However, the two-week CR does not include a 2019 pay raise for federal government employees that had been discussed by legislators earlier this year. The Senate previously endorsed a 1.9 percent pay increase for civilian federal employees, while the House has remained silent on a pay increase, deferring instead to the President's proposed alternative pay plan that would not provide any increase this January. As discussions on a longer-term spending bill continue, it is possible that a pay raise could be included as a result of those negotiations.
Moving forward, the two-week CR will delay the threat of a partial government shutdown until Dec. 21. NATCA is working with members of Congress and their staffs to ensure that they are aware of the negative effects a partial government shutdown would have on the National Airspace System (NAS).
This latest government funding crisis is yet another reminder of the unstable, unpredictable funding stream that continues to plague the FAA and the NAS. The FAA requires a stable, predictable funding stream in order to adequately support air traffic control services, staffing, hiring and training, long-term and NextGen modernization projects, preventative maintenance, and ongoing modernization to the physical infrastructure.
NATCA has negotiated a procedural
Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
in the event that the Dec. 7 deal collapses and a partial shutdown occurs. Looking ahead to Dec. 21, NATCA is in the process of negotiating another procedural MOU to accompany the existing furlough MOU and questions and answers that appear in
Appendix P-4 of the Slate Book
. The Appendix P-4 MOU applies to all FAA NATCA BUEs regardless of contract. NATCA also continues to work with the FAA to ensure that the Agency's list of "excepted employees" - who would not be subject to furlough in the event of a shutdown - is as accurate as possible.
As always, we will continue to advocate for all of the issues that are important to our members and are critical to maintaining the safest, most efficient, most complex, and most diverse aviation system in the world.