While in pro-forma session for 59 seconds today, Senate Democrats passed a six-week extension of the Federal Aviation Administration’s authorization. Since the bill had already passed the U.S. House, it went straight to President Barack Obama. He signed it right away, ending the partial shutdown of the FAA that began on July 22. Furloughed FAA employees can go back to work, and airport construction projects put on hold can resume.
The short-term extension contains some cuts to the Essential Air Service program subsidizing service to small airports (including three in Iowa). House Republicans want to phase out that program, while most Democrats want to preserve it. The bill passed today does not include Republican-backed language that would make it more difficult for airline workers to join a union.
LATE UPDATE: The FAA shutdown delayed planned upgrades at the Southeast Iowa Regional Airport in Burlington, possibly until after the winter.