The Federal Aviation Administration issued a press release this morning.
The FAA has suspended all employee furloughs. Air traffic facilities will begin to return to regular staffing levels over the next 24 hours and the system will resume normal operations by Sunday evening.
Regarding the idea that Democrats “caved” or “blinked” on funding for the FAA — I couldn’t disagree more.
Did Congress act swiftly because flight delays impact them more directly that cuts to Head Start? Probably. Should Congress have ended the furlough of all federal employees rather than just a few? Absolutely. But that doesn’t make ending furloughs for the FAA a bad thing.
Democrats, including myself, have said for quite some time now that furloughs are a distinctly bad thing and that furloughs at the FAA in particular could have far reaching effects on the economy. And while Congress’s motivation for jumping into action may be cynical or selfish, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t use the opportunity to put some people back to work.
As for the idea that President Obama should veto a bill that would end the furlough of FAA employees — there would be no benefit to doing so.
The bill passed with a solid, veto-proof super-majority, so even if the president felt inclined to veto the bill in the interest of negotiating a broader deal, he would have nothing to show for it other than weeks of bad press. And make no mistake — the effects of FAA furloughs on the press almost certainly played a role in how quickly they were averted.
I’m aware that Eric Cantor and John Boehner believe they’ve scored some big victory, but I don’t care what they think and neither should you.
Each senator or representative who voted to restore the funding of the FAA while opposing the same for other federal agencies should be held accountable. And if you go down the list, I promise an overwhelming majority of Democrats who voted for yesterday’s bill also support ending all furloughs.
“Both sides are the same” is a terrible message to present at a time like this.