As predicted, sequester cuts become a problem only when they inconvenience 1) the wealthy, 2) the media and 3) members of Congress. Take for example the FAA. As you may know, the Federal Aviation Administration works seven days a week to keep our airplanes from colliding with each other and/or exploding. In exchange for this valuable service we pay them. If we give them less money we must either a) put fewer planes in the air, or b) accept that a certain number of planes will land on something other than the wheels. The FAA sensibly chose option (a) in spite of and perhaps because it might inconvenience members of Congress. As also predicted this spurred immediate action.
….”We have to admit that some things are very problematic,” said Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D., Minn.), who on Wednesday introduced a bipartisan bill with Sen. John Hoeven (R., N.D.) designed to give the Department of Transportation more flexibility to manage the cuts with the goal of reducing furloughs at the FAA….Another Democrat, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, on Wednesday announced legislation that would reinstate air-traffic controllers using funds generated by ending a tax break for corporate jets. Democratic Sen. Tom Carper of Delaware said he would prefer to generate additional user fees to keep the travel system running at full capacity for the next five months.
“The public’s going to be furious when they find out that this could have been prevented,” said Sen. Dan Coats (R., Ind.), who supports the bipartisan proposal to give the Department of Transportation more flexibility in dealing with the FAA cuts. The aviation agency has said it can’t avoid furloughs in the course of complying with the mandated budget cuts.
To summarize, Congress plans to let the FAA squeeze the balloon a little and let the suck bulge out in some other part of air traffic safety. Anyone care to guess where? Counsel calls on Jerry Moran, Republican Senator from Kansas.
Senate consideration of a bill to fund the federal government through September ground to a halt Tuesday when a freshman Republican from Kansas insisted on a full 60 hours of debate after he wasn’t allowed to bring up an amendment that would keep rural airports operating.[…] The Kansan wants to restore $50 million in funding for control towers for more than 180 airports serving primarily rural areas around the country. The money was part of the across-the-board spending cuts that began on March 1; without the $50 million, most of the airports—including seven in Kansas—will shut down on April 7, according to a Moran aide. The senator is pushing for a vote that would find $50 million elsewhere in the Federal Aviation Administration’s budget.
Far be it from me (cough) to tell Harry Reid how to run his popsicle stand (COUGH COUGH), but I’d like to see him give Moran his bill as a rider to Klobuchar-Hoeven and send that to the FAA. It might be the last straw that pushes that cartoon bill from Schoolhouse Rock to kneel in the rotunda, pour gasoline on his head and strike a match.
And of course.