The U.S. House of Representatives passed a measure that will stop the furloughs of air traffic controllers that have been blamed for widespread airport delays this week.
Beginning Monday, passengers at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport were told they would experience travel delays up to three hours long. About 15,000 Federal Aviation Administration air traffic controllers have been affected by the furloughs.
With 361-41 vote, the legislation passed just a day after Senate approved the measure. The bipartisan agreement would grant budget planners, within the transportation department, new flexibility for dealing with forced spending cuts.
The nation’s largest pilots union and Airlines for America, which represents major airline carriers, filed suit against the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) because of the furloughs for the control tower workers.
Legislators were preparing to leave Washington for a week-long recess as they voted.
President Barack Obama has yet to sign the bill. Once the bill is signed by the president, authorities will be able to protect about 150 control towers slated for closure.
The furloughs and closures are a result of the $85 billion government wide cuts that took effect in March, known as sequestration.
A White House spokesman said the new bill is a band-aid that doesn’t address the overall threats the across the board cuts pose to the economy.