UPDATE on this story: The Senate may act to end the deadlock over FAA funding
In Washington these days, stupid pet tricks have been replaced by stupid congressional tricks. In an effort to cut $16 million in rural air service grants from the FAA's budget, Republicans in Congress have embarked on a path that could deny the FAA more than a billion in revenue this month. The House adjourned for a vacation for the rest of the month without acting on a renewal of funding for the FAA, which means airlines can't collect federal ticket taxes. If the Senate also adjourns later this week without accepting the funding level the House approved, the government will not collect about $1.2 billion in ticket taxes and fees by the time Congress convenes again in September.
The standoff has meant furloughs of more than 70,000 FAA employees and those who work for FAA contractors. Passengers, of course, are paying the same price for tickets, since most airlines raised fares in the same amounts as the lapsed taxes. An AP story from Washington adds more information.