By Joan Lowy, Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress has reached a bipartisan compromise to end the partial shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration that has left 74,000 transportation and construction workers idled, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Thursday.
The deal would allow the Senate to approve a House bill extending the FAA's operating authority through mid-September, including a provision that cuts $16.5 million in air service subsidies to rural communities.
Republicans had insisted on the cuts as their price for restoring the FAA to full operation. But the cuts may become moot.
Democrats said they expect the White House to effectively waive or negate the cuts, which would allow continued service to 13 communities affected by the provision.
"I don't know all the details of how they (the affected communities) will be held harmless. I just know that the White House has provided assurances that they will be held harmless," said a Senate Democratic leadership aide who asked not to be named because he wasn't authorized to speak publicly.
"This is a tremendous victory for American workers everywhere," Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement.
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