Pittenger claims FAA delays could have been prevented

Pittenger claims FAA delays could have been prevented

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by RAD BERKY / NBC Charlotte

Bio | Email | Follow: @RadBerkywcnc

WCNC.com

Posted on April 26, 2013 at 11:16 PM

Updated Friday, Apr 26 at 11:21 PM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- After both the House and Senate voted to end those delay-causing furloughs of Federal Aviation Administration air traffic controllers, there is a partisan political debate raging over who is at fault for causing them.

Charlotte Republican Robert Pittenger flew home to Charlotte-Douglas International Airport Friday afternoon after the house voted to join the Senate in approving legislation to end the furloughs.

"We don't have to have the American people held hostage and create these unnecessary delays," he said.

Pittenger and other Republicans are accusing the President and Democrats in Congress of purposely furloughing the controllers to pressure Congress to lift $85 billion in across-the-board spending cuts.

Pittenger also said the FAA has mishandled the sequester cuts.

"The FAA spends about $500 million a year on consultants.  They sent 18,000 people to conferences last year.  We can manage better and we held strong and we forced them to manage better," Pittenger said.

Democrats countered, saying that by law, the administration had little room to decide where the cutbacks in funding would happen.

No matter who is at fault, frequent fliers at Charlotte-Douglas are just glad the furloughs will be over.

"I was a little concerned because I had not seen the news and a lot of people were talking about it," said Cheryl Gilman as she waited in the arrival area.  "I thought maybe it might affect today, but everything went smoothly."

A White House spokesman indicated that President Obama would sign the legislation into law.

There will also be enough funding available to keep open small control towers at airports in Concord and Hickory.

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