The Conversation

The FAA Fix is a Loss for the White House

As I pointed out yesterday, the White House was attempting to use concern about FAA furloughs to push forward a sequester replacement deal. As of this morning that attempt is a failure.

Last night a bipartisan group of Senators passed legislation that would allow the FAA to "transfer other funding within the FAA, up to $253 million, to prevent reduced operations and staffing during fiscal year 2013." This should put an end to air traffic controller furloughs without undoing the cuts imposed by sequestration.

This morning the House followed suit, passing the Reducing Flight Delays Act by 361-41. Speaker Boehner left no doubt who he blamed for the problem "The disruption to America's air traffic system over the past week was a consequence of the administration's choice to implement the president's sequestration cuts in the most painful manner possible...With this solution, Americans will no longer be burdened by President Obama’s flight delays and our economy will not take an unnecessary hit."

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor put out a memo celebrating the victory. He wrote:

As a CQ / Roll Call reporter tweeted last night, “Make no mistake, this FAA fix is a complete, utter cave by Senate Democrats and, if signed, by the White House.” This is a sentiment expressed in other press reports over the last 12 hours, including, Politico: “Democrats blink first on aviation” and Chicago Tribune: “White House Scrambles For Damage Control.”

Meanwhile, Democrats were clearly less enthusiastic. In keeping with previous Democratic comments on the issue, Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer said "We ought not to be mitigating the sequester's effect on just one segment when children, the sick, the military and many other groups." White House spokesman Jay Carney called the bill's passage "good news" but added that the President "believes this is a band-aid covering a massive wound to the economy."

This is a clear win for leaner government and a clear loss for the President whose administration has campaigned for an end to sequestration using a series of bogus claims in February and, more recently, the results of it's own poor management.


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