Recent delays at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport will cease to inconvenience Atlanta citizens as the congress passes a bill that will end air traffic controller furloughs.
The House passed the bill 361-41, a day after the Senate agreed to the measure. Congress passed legislation just before adjourning for a weeklong recess. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) furloughed air traffic controllers as part of a government-wide reduction. The bill will allow FAA to use up to $253 million from airport improvement funding accounts to end the furloughs until the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30.
“It will be good news for America’s traveling public if Congress spares them these unnecessary delays. But ultimately, this is no more than a temporary Band-Aid that fails to address the overarching threat to our economy posed by the sequester’s mindless, across-the-board cuts.” Jay Carney, White House press secretary, said.
Republicans accused the president’s administration of purposefully furloughing the controlled as a means to force Congress to life the $85 million across-the-board budget cuts, commonly known as the sequester, which took effect last month.
“The administration has played shameful politics with the sequester at the cost of hard-working American families,” said Rep. Tom Latham.
The White House responded to Republican criticism, claiming that the administration has little control over where the cuts fall.
“How can we sit there and say, ‘Four million Meals on Wheels for seniors, gone, but that’s not important. Over 70,000 children off Head Start, but that’s not important.’ What is important is for Republicans to hold a hard line” on the budget, said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
Martha Zoller’s ZPolitics Takeaway: In the first win for Republicans since August 2011 and the Sequester, Congress comes up with solution for FAA cutbacks. Less than a week ago, Sen. Harry Reid and others said, “No Way.” In the last week, Democrats saw they were losing this issue.
It doesn’t pass the smell test that is a department budgeted with more money in real dollars this year than last year and low inflation, the only place to adjust spending to comply with the sequester is with the Air Traffic Controllers. It just doesn’t make sense.
We are 5 years down the road from the collapse and 5 years of trillion dollar a year deficits and there has been no leadership in restructuring government. The only place for the blame to lie is with the Executive Branch. It is his job to lead on these issues. It’s status quo at best.
It’s time to restructure the federal government. To indicate that departments were instructed not to move money around to avoid the sequester is mismanagement at best and negligence and malfeasance at worst.
What’s important is this compromise was reached without adding any more dollars. A first in years. Most any compromise has always cost you more money. Not today. This has been a good moment for the American people.
This is especially good for Atlanta Hartsfield Airport, one of the busiest in the world and a driver of our economic engine throughout the state.