Local Reaction to bill to end airport delays - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Local Reaction to bill to end airport delays

WASHINGTON (WXOW) - Congress has easily approved legislation ending furloughs of air traffic controllers that have delayed hundreds of flights daily.

The House approved the measure Friday on a 361-41 vote, one day after the Senate agreed to the bill. The action came with lawmakers streaming toward the doors for a week-long spring recess.

The Federal Aviation Administration has furloughed the controllers as part of the government-wide, $85 billion spending cuts called the sequester. Republicans are accusing the Obama administration of using the controller furloughs to put political pressure on Congress to roll back all the cuts.

Airline delays have infuriated travelers and caused headaches for lawmakers.

Democrats largely went along with the bill but said all the cuts should be lifted.

Earlier this week, La Crosse Municipal Airport Manager Clinton Torp told WXOW that they hadn't seen any delays as a result of the sequester.  Before Friday's vote, La Crosse's tower was set to close in June.

The leisure department manager at Travel Leaders, Sherry Westby, says her clients have noticed delays. She says the furloughs contributed to the problem and she's happy Congress acted quickly.

However, she says the TSA hiring freeze that resulted from the sequester is still going to be problematic.

"We have sent out emails to our customers updating them on ways that they can get through security more quickly. For example entering the TSA pre-check program and other trusted traveler programs."

Westby says she's had to rebook clients who missed flights waiting in security lines. But, she adds that Travel Leader has not seen a decline in business.

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