With all the noise the last month over the debt ceiling most Americans aren’t even aware that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was headed for a shutdown, which took place July 22nd, forcing 4,000 workers on temporary furlough.

Amidst the debt ceiling bickering the Congress failed to reauthorize the FAA budget and the now 10-day shutdown of airport runway and other improvement projects forced all but essential FAA employees to take an extended vacation.

The failure to approve the budget also removed the requirement for airlines to collect ticket taxes, resulting in a loss of $250 million in federal revenue that provides funds to pay for airport infrastructure projects. The shutdown is anticipated continue through August as Congress takes a prolonged break and costing the government more than $1 billion in revenue.

The shutdown is likely to spread quickly through the airline industry as certification of aircraft and airports for handling specific aircraft, such as the new Boeing 747-8 freighter, the largest jumbo jet ever built by the company will be delayed through the month. The delay is likely to cost Boeing and supporting companies millions of dollars.

The unresolved issues Congress left behind involved subsidies for service to rural communities and a roll back of the federal labor rule intended to make it easier for unions to organize at airlines and railroads. Democrats refused to negotiate on the subsidies, some of which are over $3,700 per ticket and serve small airports that have as few as a single flight per day.

The temporary measure was intended as a stop gap measure to allow the Congress to continue negotiations on a long-term funding for the entire FAA. The shutdown is not expected to have any effect on passenger or freight airline service.

The issue became a political football last year when an Obama administration appointee pushed the labor change ahead of union elections at Delta Airlines that in the end failed. Members of the GOP became incensed when the Obama administration attempted to go around the Congress through implementation of several regulations making it easier for unions to organize in the transportation industry.

Regardless of your political point-of-view, you should be disgusted that your Representatives and Senators put their own vacation plans ahead of the entire country. After we just went through weeks of budget crisis squabbling, you would expect that wasting a billion dollars would warrant at least another day in session. How sad for us all that a few weeks of hard work warrants overpaid lawmakers to leave town while the rest of us pay the bill.