Illinois Republians, Democrats differ over FAA bill

July 25, 2011

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(AP/Jim Prisching, File)
Construction crews work on building a runway as part of the O'Hare International Airport expansion in 2010.

Thousands of contractors have been ordered to stop work on airport construction projects Monday. Congressmen from Illinois continue to disagree over legislation needed to put those workers back to work.

The Federal Aviation Administration's operating authority expired Friday night after the House and Senate couldn't agree on a bill to extend it. U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said he tried to pass a temporary version of the bill, but Republicans objected.

"This political brinksmanship may be somebody's idea of a victory," Durbin said Monday. "It's my idea of a defeat for workers across America and for the maintenance and the construction of new airport facilities."

But Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-Ill.) said his chamber is being proactive, passing a plan that Senate Democrats don't support.

"What they're doing is they're just kicking the can down the road another couple months each time that this happens," he said.

O'Hare Airports's modernization program is not expected to be affected by the work stoppage yet. But the FAA said the $1.5 million re-paving of a Chicago parking lot won't happen until Congress reaches an agreement.