With Congress's refusal to authorize spending by the Federal Aviation Administration, it's also refusing tio authorize the FAA to collect the federal taxes added onto airline tickets. Yet the airlines continue to charge the taxes, a total of about $200 million a week.
Where's that money going?
The airlines are pocketing it, says Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood. And he either wants it back for the government, or wants the airlines to refund it to airline customers.
"For all the talk about deficits and debt," he said at the White House Thursday, "that mone is being lost to the treasury."
While air traffic controllers continjueto work, LaHood also said the funding dispute in Congress over the FAA has idled thousands of construction workers at the height of the summer construction season.
"Since Congress failed to pass an FAA bill, nearly 4,000 FAA employees have been furloughed and as many as 70,000 construction workers across America are out of work," he said. "Important airport modernization projects have been shut down in every state in the country.
"And let me just say parenthetically, one of the highest unemployment segments in the country is in the construction area, in the building trades. And for all of my friends on Capitol Hill who give speeches every day about jobs, the importance of jobs, putting people to work, this is not the time to be laying off 70,000 construction workers."