"It's a tragedy which never had to happen," Rockefeller said Monday on the Senate floor. "It's a tragedy about ego, about bullying, about an attempt to prove one side would cave. It's sort of the worst kind of political bickering that the American people are so sick of. But this time they are going to pay a terrible price."
The shutdown carries a hefty price tag for the federal government as well.
Without Congressional reauthorization, the FAA cannot collect airline ticket taxes, resulting in a loss of about $200 million per week.
"I want people to understand that what has been happening to the FAA is causing enormous pain throughout the country and the pain will only grow," Rockefeller said.
In addition to the lost tax revenues, the shutdown has sent 4,000 FAA employees and 70,000 construction workers around the country home without pay. It has also halted 248 construction projects and prevented $2.5 billion in construction grants from being paid out.
"It's not fair," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. "We need those jobs significantly. I can't stress enough how much we need those jobs."