Washington – The United States Senate approved Friday a temporary measure to provide funds for the Federal Aviation Administration, which will end the partial shutdown of the agency that left some 74,000 people out of work.
The Senate, where Democrats have a majority, approved the bill, which extends FAA funding until Sept. 16 by a procedure known as unanimous consent in an almost empty chamber.
The accord ended several weeks of partisan fighting over FAA funding and the resulting layoffs of 70,000 construction workers involved in government-funded airport projects.
President Barack Obama praised the resolution of the dispute.
"I'm pleased that Congress has passed an agreement which will allow tens of thousands of people to return to their jobs rebuilding runways and working on construction projects all over America, while removing the uncertainty hanging over the jobs of thousands of hardworking FAA employees," he said in a statement.
"This impasse was an unnecessary strain on local economies across the country at a time when we can't allow politics to get in the way of our economic recovery," the president said.
The president was to sign the bill Friday at noon.
The measure, already approved by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives last month, includes cuts of $16 million annually to federal subsidies for rural air services.
But the agreement will permit Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to authorize exemptions for rural airports that can show they need the federal subsidies to remain in service.
Without funds since the end of July, the FAA as a result was unable to collect federal taxes on air-ticket sales, and as a consequence suffered losses of some $30 million a day.
Upon returning from the August legislative recess, Congress must debate a measure for long-term expenditures and a solution for matters left pending, including partisan disagreements about the future of subsidies for rural airports and the regulations that govern the forming of unions for workers in the aviation industry.