Time is running short to avoid a partial government shutdown, but it appears there is a path forward to another short-term funding bill. Two weeks ago, Congress passed and the President signed a continuing resolution (CR) that maintained annual appropriations at Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 levels for certain federal agencies and departments, including the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). That CR expires at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 21. If Congress and the President cannot reach a deal by then, the FAA will not be funded and will shut down.
We are monitoring this situation closely and tracking possible outcomes. Tonight, the U.S. Senate passed a funding bill that will remain in effect until Friday, Feb. 8, 2019. The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to take up the bill once it is transmitted from the Senate. Reports indicate that the President is likely to sign the bill, which would avert the third government shutdown in the 2018 calendar year, however the situation remains fluid. This short-term CR does not include a federal employee pay raise for 2019. Without Congressional action the President's alternative pay plan providing no increase will go into effect. The new Congress will have the opportunity to pass a pay raise when it is seated in January.
NATCA is continuing to work with members of Congress and their staffs to ensure that they are aware of the negative effects that yet another government shutdown would have on the FAA and the men and women who operate and support the National Airspace System.
In the event of a shutdown, employees who continue to work will not be paid until the government is funded, while certain employees will be furloughed and may not be paid at all.
In the event of a partial government shutdown, NATCA has negotiated with the FAA a procedural Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). That MOU accompanies the existing Furlough MOU and the associated questions & answers. These documents are available on the NATCA website. The Dec. 21 procedural MOU and the Furlough MOU apply 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.
This government funding crisis is 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.
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.