Top US Senate Democrat Harry Reid announced Thursday that polarized lawmakers had reached a stopgap deal to end a costly row that has shut airport construction and halted tax payments by airlines."I am pleased to announce that we have been able to broker a bipartisan compromise between the House and the Senate to put 74,000 transportation and construction workers back to work," Reid said in a statement."This agreement does not resolve the important differences that still remain. But I believe we should keep Americans working while Congress settles its differences, and this agreement will do exactly that."His comments came a day after President Barack Obama urged lawmakers, who left Washington early this week without extending funding for the Federal Aviation Administration, to fix what he called "a lose-lose-lose situation."The cash crunch has forced the FAA to temporarily lay off 4,000 non-essential personnel and halt work for 70,000 workers on airport construction projects, though top officials say air safety is not at risk.The FAA has for several years been struggling by on more than 20 temporary funding grants from the government amid a row between Democrats and Republicans over conditions for its long-term funding.But with Congress consumed by a crisis over raising the US government borrowing limit, only averted by a last-minute deal, lawmakers left for their summer break without dealing with the FAA's cash crunch.The Democratic-led Senate and the Republican-run House of Representatives have been at odds over subsidies for rural air services -- notably benefiting the home states of some powerful Democratic senators -- and a dispute over labor standards and unions in the aviation industry.
Details of the arrangement were not immediately available.