Senate Passes Bill to Ease FAA Furloughs

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WASHINGTON (AP) - Lawmakers taking criticism for the flight delays caused by air traffic controller furloughs brought on by deep budget cuts Congress didn't avert are trying to undo the impact.

The Senate has approved legislation giving the Federal Aviation Administration budget wiggle room that wouldn't require controllers to take unpaid days off.

Under the legislation, the FAA would gain authority to move around up to $253 million from various accounts. That arrangement would be allowed through Sept. 30 -- the end of the fiscal year. Senate officials say the available funds should be ample enough to also prevent the closure of small airport towers around the country.

The FAA made the cuts to fulfill its share of $85 billion in across-the-board spending cuts that took effect last month at numerous government agencies. That's resulted in thousands of flight delays this week.

The House is expected to approve the legislation on Friday, just in time for lawmakers to head to the airports for a weeklong vacation.