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While Cromnibus Waits, Teamsters Object to Pension Plan

Senate talks are underway in hopes of wrapping up a spending measure by Saturday.

Cromnibus Waiting Game. After Thursday’s late-night cromnibus drama, all eyes are on the Senate to see whether senators can hammer out an agreement to wrap up voting on the spending bill (HR 83) by Saturday, when the short-term stopgap passed by the House on Thursday night expires. As of early this afternoon, senators had not been able to strike a deal on timing, said Sen. Barbara A. Milkulski, D-Md., who chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Absent a deal, the Senate might not be able to hold its final vote on the measure until Monday.

Check the CQ cromnibus page for updates.

Teamsters Object. With the fiscal 2015 spending bill on track for action, the Teamsters union is weighing in with a last-ditch effort to get lawmakers to reject the measure. A statement from Teamsters President Jim Hoffa pointed to pension changes in the measure, which the union said would result “in an untold number of retirees losing a substantial percentage of their fixed income should reductions be required.”

The Teamsters are also objecting to the controversial hours of service rules in the bill.

“Trucking companies are pulling the strings of their puppets in Congress to roll back hours of service rules so they can force drivers to work 80 hours a week with insufficient rest,” the statement said.

UK Grounded. A computer glitch at an air traffic control center caused massive flight disruptions Friday at airports around the United Kingdom including London’s Heathrow and Gatwick airports. The incident is putting new scrutiny on the National Air Traffic Services, the public-private entity responsible for providing air traffic control. NATS already suffered a disruption last year because of a telephone glitch, the BBC reports.

Some American aviation experts are urging Congress to move to a similar public-private model for U.S. air traffic control services, which right now are handled by the Federal Aviation Administration. Lawmakers have said they would study such a move in advance of next year’s FAA reauthorization.