The squeeky wheel gets the grease axiom was proven again today with the Senate passing legislation for the FAA to shift funding to releive the ATC cutbacks and consequent aircraft delays. The Reuters article can be read here. The House is expected to pass and get this embarassing situation behind them.
The FAA was required to cut $637 million as their part of the sequestration cutback. They took this from several parts of their budget, but the only part the public saw was the reduction in Air Traffic Controllers which resulted in delays at some, but not all, major airports. The legislation will allow the FAA to take $250m from other parts of its budget to prevent or reduce furloughs. Note that part. The FAA received no additional money.
The sequestration is being used as a political toll by both sides. Duh. The Administration is purposely taking the letter of the law down to the nth degree by saying every individual program, such as ATC salaries, must be cut individually. The Republicans claim, with some logic, that they just told the Adminstration to cut each department by 10% and left the latitude up to them. So the FAA Adimistrator could have said cut back on Navaid projects planned and prioritize funding to operational aspects like ATCs, but did not. So in the end, the FAA still endures the same cutback, but the Adminstration scores points with the public that the sequestration is being used as a tool to draconically cut public services.
I can’t say that DOD is much better, except that their whining actually did result in more money being thrown their way. I know for my civilian staff, we have gone from 22 days of furlough to 14 and now the rumor is possibly none. In the end, the sequestration is accomplishing something that the Republicans wanted. Everything in the Government is cutback except for a few things that result in the public screaming about. So even if they give back money to DOD or the FAA, they are still seeing most of the cuts hold. I feel sorry for those Government agencies that no one loves.
Good thing I am not a Park Ranger or State Department employee…