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Senate votes unanimously to fix FAA furloughs

The Senate voted unanimously to approve funding to put air traffic controllers back to work. NBC News' Tracie Potts reports.

The Senate moved quickly Thursday evening to help ease the Federal Aviation Administration's ability to handle automatic spending cuts set forth in the sequester.

Senators unanimously approved the "Reducing Flight Delays Act of 2013" — a patch to fix the deep cuts that have furloughed air traffic controllers and delayed flights across the country.

The bill gives the FAA authority to spend up to $253 million of money already in the FAA's budget — but not allocated to pay for other things -- to keep employees on the job and make sure more flights a on time.

It was passed by unanimous consent, which means no senator objected.

The House could take the bill up tomorrow and pass it with 2/3 support of that chamber.

All of this was a last minute scramble to avert a crisis that was becoming more and more politically problematic by the day.

The rush was inspired by the looming congressional recess, which lasts all next week. Many senators are leaving were set to leave town Thursday night and Friday.

Damian Dovarganes / AP

Travelers stand in line at Los Angeles International airport in Los Angeles Monday, April 22, 2013. It was a tough start to the week for many air travelers as flight delays piled up when thousands of air traffic controllers were forced to take an unpaid day off because of federal budget cuts.