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Obama welcomes congressional agreement on FAA

US President Barack Obama has welcomed a congressional agreement that would put thousands of furloughed Federal Aviation Authority employees back to work.

world Updated: Aug 05, 2011 08:13 IST

US President Barack Obama has welcomed a congressional agreement that would put thousands of furloughed Federal Aviation Authority employees back to work.

"I'm pleased that leaders in Congress are working together to break the impasse involving the FAA so that tens of thousands of construction workers and others can go back to work," Obama said in a statement.

"We can't afford to let politics in Washington hamper our recovery, so this is an important step forward," he said.

Earlier, senate majority leader Harry Reid announced an agreement on a short-term extension of the FAA, ending the partial shutdown of the agency and putting 74,000 transportation and construction workers back on the job.

"The agreement means tens of thousands of people can return to their jobs, support their families, and strengthen our airports, our infrastructure, and our economy," House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said.

"Republicans must now return to the negotiating table to work toward a long-term FAA reauthorisation that creates jobs, spurs growth, and respects workers' rights," she said.

Transportation secretary Ray LaHood termed it a tremendous victory for American workers everywhere.

"From construction workers to our FAA employees, they will have the security of knowing they are going to go back to work and get a paycheck - and that's what we've been fighting for. We have the best aviation system in the world and we intend to keep it that way," he said.

The FAA has been shut down since midnight on July 23, 2011 when the US House of Representatives failed to pass a clean short-term extension of FAA programmes.

"I am pleased that an agreement was reached which will put 4,000 furloughed employees back to work," senator Mark Begich said, adding, "It will also get millions of dollars worth of airport construction projects, employing 70,000 construction workers."