If there’s one thing Republicans love, it’s shutting down the government. Sure, that means temporarily leaving hundreds of thousands of federal employees and contractors without paychecks, hurting the economy, and generally creating an all-around hassle for millions of people, but apparently, it’s worth it if it means they get to shout about how being gay should be illegal, and the government should control what clothes people wear. For those who don’t work for the federal government, one of the biggest frustrations will likely be related to air travel.
But while it’s normal for air travel to be interrupted during a government shutdown, Yahoo Finance reports that this time around, it will likely be worse than it has been in the past. That’s because the deadline for making a deal that would avert a shutdown also lands on the last day for Congress to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration. The pro-airline lobbyist group Airlines for America told Yahoo Finance that the shutdown “could lead to flight delays for travelers and cargo shipments, longer screening lines,” and would have further reaching effects such as putting a pause on the training of new air traffic controllers.
But if the government shuts down before reauthorizing the FAA, which appears to be the likeliest outcome, that will only make flying even worse. According to Airlines for America, it “risks our ability to function efficiently and is not conducive to the growth and vitality of our airspace.” It’s possible that the Senate will be able to pass a bill before the deadline that would temporarily keep the government open and reauthorize the FAA, but even if it passes, it’s unlikely that House Republicans will even allow it to be voted on.
“The last thing we need is more pressure on an already strained aviation system and workforce,” said Senate Commerce Committee Chair Maria Cantwell in a statement. But since Christofascists such as Matt Gaetz, Paul Gosar and Marjorie Taylor Greene disagree, don’t expect any movement on the issue with the FAA before they shut down the government. So if you have a flight scheduled for next week (and possibly a few weeks after), be prepared for longer than normal security lines, flight delays, canceled flights, and a generally hellish experience. Or maybe just drive. Thanks, Republicans!