28 April 2013

The Senate modifies the part of the sequester that was hurting politicians and rich people

Last week I saw a brief report that the sequester was leading to flight delays on the important-to-politicians-and-businessmen shuttles between New York and Washington.  So I wasn't surprised to read this in Salon a few days later:
After a month or so of the sequestration budget cuts only affecting people Congress doesn’t really care about, the cuts hit home this week when mandatory FAA furloughs caused lengthy flight delays cross the country... The U.S. Senate jumped into action last night and voted to… let the FAA transfer some money from the Transportation Department to pay air traffic controllers so that the sequestration can continue without inconveniencing members of Congress, most of whom will be flying home to their districts today...

...what it did was work to ensure that the sequester continues not affecting elites, who fly regularly. I am embarrassed that I did not predict this exact outcome in my column Tuesday morning. The Senate, which can’t confirm a judge without months of delay and a constitutional crisis, passed this particular bill in about two minutes, with unanimous consent. 


  1. The Atlantic offers a similar theme.

    1. I hope Jon Stewart picks up on it.

    2. John Hodgman, who's part of The Daily Show extended family, as well a lot of other comedians were tweeting about it over the weekend so it seems likely to get showcased. It's really too much of a gift not to.

    3. You were right. He nailed them extensively and pointedly tonight. :.)

  2. Obama should have vetod that bill.

    If I were the FAA, I'd direct all remaining cuts to be in force at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) around the beginning and end of Congressional sessions.

    I'd also love to have the NPS stop maintaining the National Mall near Congress, and have signs counting down from the Lincoln Memorial (the other side of the Mall) telling visitors how far Congress has cut spending. Let those grass fields around Congress go brown, and let that reflecting pool rot!

    WMATA, DC's metro service should close Federal Center SW, Capitol South and Judiciary Square, and all bus stops near Congress as soon as they get hit by the sequester.

  3. Well done, Congress, you have bolstered the cynicism and increasing sense of despair your constituents feel when discussing politics and those who they voted into office to represent their best interests.

  4. This looks like a lot of political maneuvering still.

    FAA is taking 60% of the cuts from the Dept of Transportation, even though the FAA is like 20% of the total Dept of Transportation Budget.

    After this, the cuts to the FAA are $637 M out of a total budget of about $15.2 Billion, or around 4%

    You mean the FAA can't take a 4% cut, and continue to operate?

    While I think there's a bit of political positioning in this as well, Representatives Thune and Shuster on the House Committee overseeing the Dept of Transportation, noted that the FAA spent $500 M on consultants last year, $179 M in travel expenses for employees, and another $143 M to operate their own fleet of 46 aircraft.

    This reminds me of the infamous "Washington Monument" ploy, as used in multiple government agencies when they get cuts. Its named, as when the Dept of Interior gets budget cuts, it doesn't cut staffing or services at some branch office that doesn't get seen or used much -- but has the National Park Service close the Washington Monument in the middle of Washington due to "budget cuts", and the encourages cries of outrage about the impact of the budget cut.

    1. Exactly. Cuts are made to hurt people in the worse way possible to cry about the situation similar to a 4 year old... but this time it's grown people doing extensive manipulating.


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