Reid surrenders on FAA “crisis”

posted at 9:25 am on August 5, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Remember the partial FAA shutdown?  Harry Reid had blamed House Republicans for not passing an extension that funded the agency — er, wait, for not passing an extension Reid liked. The House did pass an extension that trimmed pork spending on the Essential Air Service, and more importantly reversed an Obama administration rule change that was nothing more than a payoff to Obama’s union allies.  When Reid realized that even the mainstream media wasn’t buying his spin, he threw in the towel:

House and Senate leaders on Thursday brokered a “bipartisan compromise” over Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization, ending — if only temporarily — a two-week standoff that had sidelined 4,000 FAA employees as well as 70,000 construction workers involved in airport improvement projects and cost the government tens of millions of dollars in uncollected revenue from the airline industry.

So what was the “bipartisan compromise”?  The Senate will adopt the House bill by unanimous consent, which will allow it to go to President Obama for his signature.  Obama’s Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood, will then have to waive the subsidy cuts under his legal authority, which will put the onus for pork spending squarely on the White House:

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood could then use his authority to grant waivers to any rural airports faced with losing the subsidy, which helps them entice air carriers to provide service. If the airport authorities make a convincing case, LaHood would allow them to keep receiving the money, a Transportation Department aide said.

The subsidy cuts had been approved by the House but had become a sticking point for Senate Democrats, who saw them as a Republican tactic in service of a larger goal: forcing Democrats to accept anti-union language that had been included in a long-term FAA reauthorization bill the House had approved weeks ago.

Politico describes this as a “Hobson’s choice”:

Things changed, however, when the GOP-controlled House passed a long-term extension bill in April that neutralized a National Mediation Board ruling allowing airline industry workplaces to form unions with a simple majority vote.

Democrats cried foul, but Republicans, led by Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.), chair of the House transportation committee, answered with a short-term extension bill that cut the essential air services budget, forcing Democrats into a Hobson’s choice: accept the anti-union provision, vote for cuts to airport subsidies in some key members’ districts, or allow the FAA to go without reauthorization and shut down.

Well, there was a third option.  The Senate could have passed their own version of the FAA funding authorization extension, which would have created the need for a conference committee to resolve the differences between the chambers.  That’s exactly what the process had been for the 200-plus years that the Senate existed before Harry Reid became Majority Leader.  Instead, the Democratic leadership in the Senate chose to do nothing at all, hoping that Republicans would take the blame — and whining like spoiled children when the media surprisingly chose not to play along but instead ask the question of the year …

Where’s your bill?”

This extension only lasts six weeks, so this fight will return soon.  We’ll see if Reid plans to do any work in this session, or if Reid continues to turn the Senate into the Do-Nothing chamber on Capitol Hill.

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the 200-plus years that the Senate existed before Harry Reid became Majority Leader.

I miss those 200+ years.

Del Dolemonte on August 5, 2011 at 9:28 AM

“Nancy. Double Secret Probation isn’t working!”-Harry Reid

NotCoach on August 5, 2011 at 9:30 AM

Anyone else noticing that Dingy Harry is getting dingier by the day?

It’s as if his power is fading away.

Not saying this is a bad thing, of course.

pilamaye on August 5, 2011 at 9:30 AM

Call that provision what it is, back door card check for the unions. What the Won can’t get through legislation, he’ll get via the back door process.

Kissmygrits on August 5, 2011 at 9:35 AM

They should have called this bill the “hey lets give the Obama administration a blank check” bill and then blame him.
The bill should never had a clause the allowed “The Hood” to waive the cuts.
Lets primary these worthless republicrats.

paulsur on August 5, 2011 at 9:36 AM

Good news… If the US Senate doesn’t want to do its job, they should “shut up and eat your peas”…

Khun Joe on August 5, 2011 at 9:48 AM

Cripe is this lsm infuriating….if harry was a gop…they would have an icon on their screens indicating how many days without a budget passed….

cmsinaz on August 5, 2011 at 9:49 AM

Mica is my representative and he appears to have done a good job of boxing them in but he really needs to get over trains. He will tell you that he is against them and then you’ll start hearing on the news that Florida is going to get a new train. If trains and planes can’t make it on their own, they must go away.

Cindy Munford on August 5, 2011 at 9:49 AM

Not a bad move by Republicans.

darwin on August 5, 2011 at 9:52 AM

Anyone else noticing that Dingy Harry is getting dingier by the day?

It’s as if his power is fading away.

He misses his pomegranate trees…
{sniff} Poor Dingy Harry!

stoutcat on August 5, 2011 at 9:57 AM

Dear Nevada,

YOU SUCK!

SouthernGent on August 5, 2011 at 9:58 AM

The Senate could have passed their own version of the FAA funding authorization extension, which would have created the need for a conference committee to resolve the differences between the chambers. That’s exactly what the process had been for the 200-plus years that the Senate existed before Harry Reid became Majority Leader.

Precisely.

HondaV65 on August 5, 2011 at 9:59 AM

And why did Boehner cave on the CCB debt limit bill? Same tactics…

dominigan on August 5, 2011 at 10:06 AM

Obama’s Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood, will then have to waive the subsidy cuts under his legal authority

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c112:H.R.2553:

This power was granted to him in the House bill, so I guess the Senate democrats actually read the bill finally and realized they didn’t need to manufacture this crisis.

JeffinSac on August 5, 2011 at 10:06 AM

4400 govt workers at the FAA were out of work for a few weeks.

Did planes fall out of the sky?
Did airports close?
Did the entire air system come to a halt?
No, no and no.

So the question really is why do we need these 4400 people in the first place?

angryed on August 5, 2011 at 10:10 AM

Thank you Sharon Angle. This is why candidates matter.

KeepOhioRed on August 5, 2011 at 10:22 AM

Thanks UNION THUGS for the fraud election of Harry Reid, he could not have won without your criminal endeavors. Dingy is working hard to force union membership in the public sector, Country be dam*ed.

IowaWoman on August 5, 2011 at 10:34 AM

Am I the only one tired of hearing about “Mach Tower” on every page refresh? For the 1 millionth time – the autoplay ads are a pain in the azz.

PJ Emeritus on August 5, 2011 at 10:38 AM

Once again, THANK YOU!, Nevada!

GarandFan on August 5, 2011 at 10:44 AM

Sorry, I can’t recall where I saw it last night (maybe Cavuto on FBN after 6pm) but they interviewed a professor at George Mason University (ugh, forgot his name, too) who stated the 70,000 figure for those construction jobs was highly inflated and was actually around 24,000. Although even that is too many, no one is apparently doing their investigative journalism jobs in the mainstream media, who unfailing take the DEMS fear-mongering inflated numbers without question. Where’s Jake Tapper???

Bob in VA on August 5, 2011 at 10:54 AM

Anyone else noticing that Dingy Harry is getting dingier by the day?

It’s as if his power is fading away.

Not saying this is a bad thing, of course.

pilamaye on August 5, 2011 at 9:30 AM

Maybe he needs inspiration from group therapy and cowboy poetry.

Steve Z on August 5, 2011 at 10:55 AM

So Harry Reid was holding a gun to his own Head?
Harry was taking himself hostage?

Harry was acting like a Pedophile, raping his own grandchildrens’ future.

I guess the left should tone down their rhetoric when they are actually talking about themselves.

barnone on August 5, 2011 at 11:26 AM

..everything is a “crisis” with these guys. I think Washington is having a crisis crisis.

The War Planner on August 5, 2011 at 11:30 AM

Anyone else noticing that Dingy Harry is getting dingier by the day?

It’s as if his power is fading away.

Not saying this is a bad thing, of course.

pilamaye on August 5, 2011 at 9:30 AM

In an earlier life, Dingy was an amateur boxer. That explains what his problem likely is, -Muhammad Ali Syndrome, caused by many small incidents of brain damage that all add up.

slickwillie2001 on August 5, 2011 at 12:56 PM

Remember the movie Harry and the Hendersons? Harry can’t even compare to the ignorant bigfoot. What a waste of energy and time this man is to our government.

capejasmine on August 5, 2011 at 5:14 PM