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Urgent New Warning Issued For Americans

On Sunday, President Biden’s Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg issued a stark warning regarding the possibility of disruptions in the airline industry should Congress fail to pass necessary funding bills or reach a short-term resolution before the looming Friday deadline, which could trigger a government shutdown.

According to The Hill, during an appearance on CNN’s “State of The Union,” Buttigieg emphasized the potential consequences of a shutdown, particularly within the transportation sector. He noted that such a scenario would entail the suspension of air traffic control training precisely when the nation is recognizing an urgent need for increased staffing in this field. Furthermore, it would coincide with the just-achieved reduction of flight cancellations to normal levels.

Buttigieg highlighted the plight of air traffic controllers, who, in the event of a shutdown, would not receive their paychecks. This, he argued, would add undue stress to an already demanding job.

The Transportation Secretary expressed concerns about the exacerbation of staffing challenges already afflicting the transportation industry. He stated that a shutdown would essentially paralyze the operations of the transportation department, while also impeding technological advancements. Buttigieg mentioned an earlier incident in January when a critical IT system outage hampered the Federal Aviation Administration’s efforts to modernize technology, underscoring that a shutdown would hinder such progress at a critical juncture.

He further pointed out that a government shutdown would halt the work aimed at securing refunds for passengers experiencing flight delays.

Buttigieg referenced a previous debt deal made between President Biden and Speaker Kevin McCarthy earlier in the summer, characterizing it as a compromise that Democrats had accepted. He emphasized that the agreement required concessions from Democrats, especially in areas where they sought funding for infrastructure projects.

Regarding the current situation, Buttigieg accused House Republicans of exploiting the potential shutdown as leverage to demand even deeper spending cuts than those outlined in the previous deal. He criticized the inconsistency of some House Republicans who were vocal about the disruptions in air travel while advocating for cuts that could hinder modernization efforts and reduce safety inspections, particularly in the context of railroads.

The federal government’s funding is set to expire at the end of the week unless Congress can pass a temporary funding measure. In an attempt to avert a shutdown, GOP leaders made efforts to pass a rule for a short-term stopgap bill the previous week to extend government funding beyond the deadline. However, they faced opposition within their own party, given their narrow majority. Moving forward, Republicans plan to work on passing four of their 12 full-year government funding bills and will make another attempt at a short-term stopgap bill to prevent a government shutdown.