(NBCNC) — The Transportation Department is warning that mandatory spending cuts could cause major headaches for travelers if a budget deal isn't reached next week.
Flights to cities like New York and Chicago could be delayed 90 minutes due to a decrease in TSA and air traffic controller staffing.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says he'll furlough air traffic controllers and cancel shifts.
Flying will stay safe, he says, but by April will be snarled.
President Obama spelled out what he's demanding from republicans in order to reach a deal.
"We have more strategic cuts on programs we don't need, and we close some tax loopholes that are taken advantage of only by the well-connected and the well-off," he explained.
Republicans say the president already won tax hikes on the rich.
"He just got six weeks ago revenue with no spending cuts, and that was written into law. Fair enough. Now, it should be spending cuts with no revenue. That's the real balance," argues Oklahoma's Rep. Tom Cole.
Experts say it would be a month before air travel delays became severe.
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