Furloughed FAA workers will receive back pay

The nearly 4,000 Federal Aviation Administration employees who were furloughed for two weeks this summer will receive back pay in October.

Transportation Department lawyers determined that additional congressional action is not necessary to provide retroactive pay to the furloughed workers.

"The FAA is taking action to pay the nearly 4,000 employees who were furloughed over the summer after the agency's authorization lapsed based on the retroactive authority included in the bill that Congress passed on Aug. 5, 2011," FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown said in a statement.

The back pay will be included in affected employees' Oct. 18 paychecks, according to an email sent to department employees from Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt.

In August, Rep. Frank LoBiondo, R-N.J., introduced legislation that would authorize back pay for the workers who were furloughed after Congress failed to come to an agreement to extend FAA's funding in July. Typically, Congress has to authorize back pay for furloughed government workers.

"After weeks of exploring all legislative options available and repeated conversations with the secretary [LaHood], today's news is certainly welcome and ensures the affected FAA employees receive the respect and thanks they deserve," LoBiondo said in a statement.

Congress earlier this month approved legislation that would extend FAA's current funding levels through Jan. 31, 2012, as well as authorize funding for surface transportation programs. It is the 22nd short-term funding extension for FAA and the eighth such stopgap measure for highways, bridges and railways.

Several Republicans joined LoBiondo in calling for back pay for furloughed FAA workers, including House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman John Mica, R-Fla.; House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter King, R-N.Y.; Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, R-Ga.; and Rep. Jon Runyan, R-N.J. Virginia Democrat Gerry Connolly also co-sponsored the bill.

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