Senate-passed FAA furlough fix bill heads to House tomorrow

posted at 10:01 pm on April 25, 2013 by Mary Katharine Ham

A couple things. I hope this “Reducing Flight Delays Act of 2013″ is clean. One would guess it must be, as it passed with unanimous consent, suggesting it was not all larded up with nonsense.

Two, it looks like the bill simply authorizes the agency to use part of its already existing budget to prevent flight control furloughs instead of reinstating funding or stopping the sequestration.

Three, doesn’t that just concede the federal government can shift and prioritize when necessary, and didn’t even need extra money to do it?

Which in turn reveals the Obama administration’s strategy to be the worst public servants ever by inflicting the highest amount of pain on the public as possible, which by the way, should now disappear after a three-day news cycle.

Anyway, it heads to the House tomorrow:

The Senate moved quickly Thursday evening to help ease the Federal Aviation Administration’s ability to handle automatic spending cuts set forth in the sequester.

Senators unanimously approved the “Reducing Flight Delays Act of 2013″ — a patch to fix the deep cuts that have furloughed air traffic controllers and delayed flights across the country.

The bill gives the FAA authority to spend up to $253 million of money already in the FAA’s budget — but not allocated to pay for other things — to keep employees on the job and make sure more flights a on time.

It was passed by unanimous consent, which means no senator objected.

The House could take the bill up tomorrow and pass it with 2/3 support of that chamber.

All of this was a last minute scramble to avert a crisis that was becoming more and more politically problematic by the day.

I wonder how big a political problem air travel inconveniences really are. They get a lot of media attention because a lot of people in the media and on the coasts do a lot of flying. But flying is a relatively rare occurrence for much of the country. Back when the media was in full-on “don’t touch my junk” mode covering the TSA’s new groping and X-ray standards, polling didn’t reveal that the American public was nearly as concerned about it as, say, a frequently traveling libertarian like myself might like. They simply weren’t affected.

But the fact that Congress is acting on this, and assuming it doesn’t spend extra money, this would seem to suggest that the Obama strategy of letting the people suffer is too risky for both parties, not just Republicans. If that’s the case, optimum suffering cannot occur.

As Kevin Glass notes, the envisioned hostage taking didn’t come to fruition, which is good for the country, the budget, and bad for the Obama strategy:

Previously, Democrats wanted to hold all of the sequestration cuts – which would total over $100 billion over two years – hostage to FAA funding. We’ll see if this all goes through acceptably, but this is certainly a positive first step for Americans who would like to see fewer delays and Democrats who would have liked to hold American travelers hostage to billions of dollars of increased spending in other areas.

While we’re at it, maybe we could unanimously consent to get what should be a fast-moving, high-tech endeavor out of the hands of a federal government that stymies it at every turn? Dude, if Canada can do it…

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WTF? This is needed… why? The President already has the discretion to fix this – no legislation required.

Midas on April 25, 2013 at 10:07 PM

So it takes Congress to fix Obama’s mess..

Will it be reported this way.

Nope.

Electrongod on April 25, 2013 at 10:12 PM

WTF? This is needed… why? The President already has the discretion to fix this – no legislation required.

Midas on April 25, 2013 at 10:07 PM

Seconded.

WHY TF is this needed? I thought Obama was all about executive powers and pulling the levers he could… here’s one he can and suddenly he’s tossing his hands in the air as if he has no control over the executive office?

BS.

And the GOP is just playing right along instead of calling him on it.

BS x2

Skywise on April 25, 2013 at 10:12 PM

ROFL

The intertube email lines to Congress must have started on fire from all the incoming traffic.

Bishop on April 25, 2013 at 10:14 PM

I’m just concerned that Shetaya, Manaya, and Meshelly get their vacations and “me time” away from Barry who is cooped up figuring out how to best govern in these crisises.

arnold ziffel on April 25, 2013 at 10:15 PM

Three, doesn’t that just concede the federal government can shift and prioritize when necessary, and didn’t even need extra money to do it?

Hey if they need extra money, just open up all those Congressionally reserved spots at Dulles and National to the common folk.

Happy Nomad on April 25, 2013 at 10:15 PM

The stupid Congress could fix Obamas excesses real quick like, IMPEACH OBASTRID!

ConcealedKerry on April 25, 2013 at 10:16 PM

Too bad the FAA unions will get their full union dues.

Keep the IRS, DoD, etc. furloughs.

sentinelrules on April 25, 2013 at 10:16 PM

It was passed by unanimous consent, which means no senator objected

…WTF?

KOOLAID2 on April 25, 2013 at 10:17 PM

…WTF?

KOOLAID2 on April 25, 2013 at 10:17 PM

Leadership has to come from somewhere..

Electrongod on April 25, 2013 at 10:18 PM

The intertube email lines to Congress must have started on fire from all the incoming traffic.

Bishop on April 25, 2013 at 10:14 PM

My idiot criminal Congressman wants a federal bag tax. In other words, no matter where you are in the country you pay if you don’t bring your own bag. It was discussed on local talk radio and within minutes the voicemail at the bastard’s office was full.

If the left only responds to mob rule then we really need to keep up the pressure on them by overwhelming objection.

Happy Nomad on April 25, 2013 at 10:20 PM

I’m sure King Barry is pissed. These PEONS just don’t know their place!

GarandFan on April 25, 2013 at 10:22 PM

“As Kevin Glass notes, the envisioned hostage taking didn’t come to fruition, which is good for the country, the budget, and bad for the Obama strategy…”

Obowma’s strategies and policies bad for the Country…

… You would think that would cause outrage, wouldn’t you?

(Sooooo… who do you think will win American Idol? – MSM)

Seven Percent Solution on April 25, 2013 at 10:24 PM

WTF?

KOOLAID2 on April 25, 2013 at 10:17 PM
Leadership has to come from somewhere..

Electrongod on April 25, 2013 at 10:18 PM

When you are told that this is the reason for your flight being delayed? Who ya gonna call? norrt, surprised the phone lines weren’t melting.

katy the mean old lady on April 25, 2013 at 10:34 PM

Happy Nomad on April 25, 2013 at 10:20 PM

My demorat-controlled state legislature tried to pass a retroactive ban on mags over 7 rounds, even ones you already owned had to be turned in to the cops.

It got defeated pretty handily, basically because the fuds were hounded the moment they left their homes.

Bishop on April 25, 2013 at 10:34 PM

Obama is a loser of historical proportions and an eternal azzhole in chief.

Michael P. Huerta is an inept impertinent swine.

It is a shame that such a PC fool is in charge of the FAA.

Schadenfreude on April 25, 2013 at 10:38 PM

OT – if you’re found guilty by such, sue, up to the SCOTUS.

Schadenfreude on April 25, 2013 at 10:39 PM

‘Toons of the Day: Frustration Devices

Resist We Much on April 25, 2013 at 10:34 PM

Love the last one..
And the second one..

Electrongod on April 25, 2013 at 10:40 PM

Imagine if Obama ever had to fly a plane.

Schadenfreude on April 25, 2013 at 10:40 PM

Imagine if an accident would have happened, due to Obama.

Schadenfreude on April 25, 2013 at 10:41 PM

Imagine if an accident would have happened, due to Obama.

Schadenfreude on April 25, 2013 at 10:41 PM

It would be blamed on black hat..

Electrongod on April 25, 2013 at 10:42 PM

It got defeated pretty handily, basically because the fuds were hounded the moment they left their homes.

Bishop on April 25, 2013 at 10:34 PM

I choose my words carefully. I think that we are close to a Prop 13 kind of revolt but on a national scale. The productive no longer willing to subsidize the lifestyle of illegals, neer-do-wells, and cousin Pookie.

Happy Nomad on April 25, 2013 at 11:19 PM

If Canada can do it…private health care.

PattyJ on April 26, 2013 at 12:18 AM

We are in the beginning of a producers’ strike – not some organized movement, a grassroots spontaneous effort forced by the punitive nature of Obama’s regime. They are penalizing success, the market takes over and weighs the marginal cost of earning the next dollar. At some point it isn’t worth it – for example, businesses are holding back expansion which would give them 50 or more employees and force them to pay for ObamaCare, others moving full-timers to part-time status to avoid the costs.

No movement or organization is necessary because sooner or later, individuals begin to act in their own best interests.

Adjoran on April 26, 2013 at 1:05 AM

Ms. Ham,

I truly appreciate your views and commentary on this site. However, your view of completely privatizing the ATC system a la Canada is flawed. They make it work by charging for many of the services we provide here for free. This is why many foreign airlines send trainee pilots to the US to train. My employer is a failed agency in terms of waste, but I have yet to find a better system as a whole that can handle the sheer volume of aircraft as safely as myself and my colleagues seem to do. We can do it for less pay, and definitely with less administrative headaches, but don’t tax pilots and passengers twice for what they get now.

ATC Guy on April 26, 2013 at 1:06 AM

FIRE THEM.

pat on April 26, 2013 at 2:10 AM

Obviously, each Agency should reduce costs from the top down. No pay for the Director and, as far down the ladder as needed. No healthcare benefits either, ObamaCare will do for them just fine.

Jeff2161 on April 26, 2013 at 4:00 AM

He’ll veto it.

ctmom on April 26, 2013 at 7:24 AM

Not loaded up with junk?

But doesn’t the desperate haste with which the Dem Senate passed this open up an opportunity for the Rep House? Why not tack on some additional items to the House bill? How about expanding it to allow all departments to shift funds within their budget. The Reps could go further afield to non-sequester areas as well.

If the Reps were this eager to pass a bill, you’d better believe the Dems would be packing it with their pet project. It just shows that Dems are better legislative politicians, better at twisting what they want out of the system, than Republicans.

HakerA on April 26, 2013 at 9:38 AM

They make it work by charging for many of the services we provide here for free. This is why many foreign airlines send trainee pilots to the US to train.

Allow me to translate: The TAXPAYER foots the bill for training foreign pilots. See the problem here?

Turtle317 on April 26, 2013 at 9:58 AM

Obama is a loser of historical proportions and an eternal azzhole in chief.

Michael P. Huerta is an inept impertinent swine.

It is a shame that such a PC fool is in charge of the FAA.

Schadenfreude on April 25, 2013 at 10:38 PM

Think back to Federico Pena, Clinton’s twofer FAA chief. Nothing new with the Soviets, I mean, Democrats . Same furlough game in 1995. Yep, I was there for it. Fascinating. Controllers go home, fill in the blank leftist program staffers, stay at work. Essential personnel you know

gatorbait on April 26, 2013 at 12:44 PM

Does this bill address the non-union controllers laid off when the FAA closed their towers?

unclesmrgol on April 26, 2013 at 4:49 PM

Imagine if Obama ever had to fly a plane.

Schadenfreude on April 25, 2013 at 10:40 PM

New movie treatment: Air Force 42

unclesmrgol on April 26, 2013 at 4:50 PM