A government shutdown looms at the end of this month. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg warns that a shutdown would “be a mess” for the economy.
“A shutdown even lasting a few days or a week could set us back by months in terms of the training pipeline for controllers because everything that goes into building that kind of experience and keeping it current,” Buttigieg said in an interview with Yahoo Finance Executive Editor Brian Sozzi.
“So you look at aviation, which is in the neighborhood of 5% of our GDP, that alone would be dealt a really serious blow to the momentum that we’ve been seeing from a shutdown. It’s one of many, many examples why this is not– you know, they’re playing with live fire here. This is not theoretical. This is not academic. This is direct damage to the US economy that can and, in our view, must be avoided and be prevented.”
The Biden White House wants Congress to pass a short-term spending resolution to fund the government after funding runs out at midnight on September 30.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, agreed last month that he and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., would pass a funding bill.
Buttigieg Warns Government Shutdown Could Impact Flights
Buttigieg warned that a government shutdown would have a negative impact on the flying public even as the Transportation Department works to improve on-time flight percentages.
“The other thing I would add is that what would not help us in the progress we’re making right now is a government shutdown. You know, this is a very good and important example of why non-defense spending in the federal budget is very important. If we went through a shutdown, a lot of the progress that we have been making on building up air traffic control staffing and readiness and training would be stopped in its tracks,” Buttigieg said.
“We would lose the momentum that we’ve gained over recent weeks and months, and it would send us in the wrong direction. So one of many ― many reasons we’re looking to Congress to do what it takes to fund the FAA, fund the government, and keep things moving.”
Bipartisan Flak Aimed at Pete Buttigieg
The Transportation Secretary has received significant criticism for how his department has handled the shutdowns of air travel and heightened delays since taking office.
He received significant bipartisan flak over his handling of the Southwest meltdown in December.
“This sector needs a more effective policeman on the beat. They need someone over at the Department of Transportation who is going to get the job done,” Washington Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell said of Buttigieg’s handling of the situation.
On the Republican side, Utah Republican Sen. Mitt Romney likewise criticized Buttigieg’s job performance.
“He’s not ready for the responsibility he has. He was a fine mayor, from what I understand, but the position he’s got really would be better served by a person who’s managed a large enterprise, a state, or something of the scale he’s now dealing with,” Romney said.
John Rossomando is a defense and counterterrorism analyst and served as Senior Analyst for Counterterrorism at The Investigative Project on Terrorism for eight years. His work has been featured in numerous publications such as The American Thinker, The National Interest, National Review Online, Daily Wire, Red Alert Politics, CNSNews.com, The Daily Caller, Human Events, Newsmax, The American Spectator, TownHall.com, and Crisis Magazine. He also served as senior managing editor of The Bulletin, a 100,000-circulation daily newspaper in Philadelphia, and received the Pennsylvania Associated Press Managing Editors first-place award for his reporting.