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An Alaska Airlines plane takes off past a half-completed 236-foot FAA control tower (L) at Oakland International Airport on July 26, 2011 in Oakland, California. Construction crews working on a new FAA air traffic control tower at Oakland International Airport were told last Friday to stop working after the U.S. House of Representatives refused to reauthorize routine funding of the FAA, resulting in 4,000 FAA employees being furloughed and nearly $2.5 billion in airport construction jobs being halted.
Since 2007, Republicans and Democrats have been unable to agree on how to fund the Federal Aviation Administration. Instead, they passed a series of temporary measures - 20 different bills over the past four years. Last Friday, after they failed to pass yet another extension, funding for the FAA ran out. Could this be the shape of things to come for Congress' debt ceiling talks? Andy Steinberg, former chief counsel to the FAA during the Bush administration explains more.