The Senate has approved legislation ending the nearly two-week partial shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which according to the Associated Press (AP) clears the way for thousands of employees to return to work and hundreds of airport construction projects to resume.
The legislation was passed using the “unanimous consent” procedure with two senators being present to approve a House-passed bill extending the FAA’s operating authority through mid-September. Democratic Sen. James Webb of Virginia stood up, called up the bill and asked that it be passed. Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., the presiding officer, agreed and it was done.
Wow?! See how fast things can move through the Senate when there are no Republican Tea Partistas (GOTP) senators to filibuster.
So, now nearly 4,000 furloughed FAA employees can return to work as soon as Monday – if President Obama signs the bill before then – ending a shutdown costing the government about $400 million in uncollected airline ticket taxes and idling thousands of construction workers.
Although the so-called bipartisan compromise cleared the way for Senate passage of the House bill, including a provision eliminating $16.5 million in air service subsidies to 13 rural communities, the bill now includes language giving the Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood authority to continue subsidized service to the 13 communities if he decides it’s necessary
Tea Partistas had insisted on the subsidy cuts as their price for restoring the FAA to full operation. Which they sort of, maybe got; but not really, because the likelihood of Secretary LaHood chopping those rural subsidies is slim to none; of course the GOTP will thump their chests and claim they cut the budget and evil Democratic appointees refused to go along, but fact is they didn’t win jack!
It was in the midst of the debt ceiling hostage crisis that the shutdown began, and the FAA had to furlough some workers but kept air traffic controllers and most safety inspectors on the job. It’s reported that forty airport safety inspectors worked without pay, picking up their own travel expenses. Those would be some of those horrible, greedy federal employees we’re always being told about. In addition, some 70,000 workers on construction-related jobs on airport projects from Palm Springs, Calif., to New York City were idled as the FAA couldn’t pay for the work.
The problems leading to the shutdown began last month when Republican Tea Partista (GOTP) Congressman John Mica, the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said he was going to attach subsidy cuts to a bill to extend the FAA’s operating authority through mid-September.
Democratic Senators then accused the Tea Partistas of breaking with precedent by using an extension bill to enact policy changes that hadn’t been agreed upon. Old Guard Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas called the measure a “procedural hand grenade.” Senators refused to pass the House bill, saying to do so would be giving into legislative blackmail and inviting the Tea Partistas to up the ante on the next extension bill.
And so the hostage crisis hasn’t really ended, the economic terrorists have simply changed legislation, and are now holding a different part of the economy prisoner in their attempt to force the President and the Democratic Senate to bend to their will. They are two-bit thugs and have no business serving in the Congress; and since all politics is local, particularly where the House is concerned, it makes you wonder what the combined constituency IQ is for some of these Districts.