"I believe he (Obama) is instructing his agencies to do things that inflict the most pain on the most people. This should be laid right at the president's feet," Shuster said.
The FAA's 47,000 employees — including nearly 15,000 controllers — are scheduled for one furlough day every other week through Sept. 30. That will reduce the number of controller hours on duty and pay by 10 percent, Huerta said.
The employee furloughs will save an estimated $200 million, and the tower closings will save $25 million, he said.
But air travelers may get a break on the ground. A senior Transportation Security Administration official said Thursday he doesn't expect furloughs for his agency, which staffs airport security across the nation. And, he said, longer wait times at checkpoints have not yet materialized as a result of so-called sequestration, as Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano warned last month.
Congress included additional money for security officers in a budget bill for the remainder of the 2013 fiscal year, and long wait times have been averted for now, TSA Deputy Administrator John Halinski told a congressional panel. Obama signed the budget bill last month.
Halinski cautioned that even with the extra funding, travelers may see lines and wait times increase during busy travel periods.
Associated Press writer Richard Lardner contributed to this report.
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