Politics
FILE - In this Nov. 26, 2008 file photo, passengers arrive for flights out of Cleveland Hopkins Airport in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta, File) FILE - In this Nov. 26, 2008 file photo, passengers arrive for flights out of Cleveland Hopkins Airport in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta, File)  

Democrats accuse Republicans of ‘hostage-taking’ in FAA shutdown

Senate Democrats and House Republicans continued to snipe at each other today over the nearly two-week-long shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration, which will now stretch into September unless Congress takes special action.

The FAA shut down on July 23rd when the Senate blocked a temporary funding bill passed by the House. The Senate objected to cuts in the Essential Air Service program, which provides federal subsidies to rural airports.

The House and Senate went into recess this week, but both sides, including President Obama, are banking on a resolution to be reached by the end of the week. In the interim, Republicans have accused senators of blocking the bill to protect political pork in their states, while Democrats accuse Republicans of refusing to negotiate.

In a press conference Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, flanked by fellow Senate Democrats Barbara Boxer, Chuck Schumer, and Jay Rockefeller, as well as Rep. Steny Hoyer, repeatedly accused Republicans of what Boxer called “government by hostage-taking.”

Democrats used the “hostage” analogy no less than eight times in the press conference.

Sen. Reid decried the shutdown, which he said was brought on by Republicans refusing to negotiate, and called on House Speaker John Boehner to “stop this nonsense.”

Since the shutdown, 4,000 FAA employees have been furloughed and around 200 airport construction projects have been halted, affecting somewhere between 70,000 and 90,000 construction jobs. The federal government is also losing about $30 million per week in airline tax revenue. (RELATED: ‘Hostage’ metaphor is liberal commentators’ new favorite talking point)

Critical FAA staff, including air traffic controllers and safety inspectors, have remained on the job, but they are paying out of pocket for travel expenses.

“We have inspectors paying for their own hotel bills and airplane tickets,” Reid said. “These men and women are now being asked to spend their own money to do their jobs. This is one of the most outrageous things I can comprehend.”

Reid’s statements conflicted with earlier indications that the Senate might approve the House version. When asked Tuesday if he would accept the House version at the end of the day, including cuts to EAS, Reid replied, “Yes.”

“I do my best to protect the state, but sometimes you have to be reasonable,” Reid said. “I think, as we learned with this big deal we’ve just done, sometimes you have to step back and find out what’s best for the country and not be bound by some of your own personal issues. And I’m willing to give that up. I hope the other senators would do the same.”

Republicans have likewise accused the Democrats of stonewalling.

“All it will take to end this crisis is for the Senate to pass the House-approved FAA extension,” Boehner said. “The only reason so many jobs are at stake is Senate Democratic Leaders chose to play politics rather than pass the House bill. I respect the fact that Senators have certain objections, but they have had two weeks to respond to the House bill and done nothing, leaving tens of thousands of workers in limbo. The House has done its job, and now it’s time for Senators to do theirs.”

Republican House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica echoed Boehner’s comments.

“Senate Democrats had a House-passed FAA extension before them for two weeks but chose to do nothing,” Mica said. “Instead of passing this simple bill, Senate Democrats chose to protect outrageous ticket subsidies, as much as $3,720 per ticket in Ely, Nevada, on the backs of 4,000 furloughed FAA employees and thousands more out-of-work airport construction workers.”

The last long-term appropriations bill for the FAA expired in 2007. The agency has operated on temporary funding extensions since then.

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  • joeaiello

    The whole country is watching these corporate backed “Tea Party” weasels on vacation, leaving 74,000 FAA workers without a job. This after their anti middle class worker demands during the debt talks will leave these Tea Baggers out of a job in 2013! Good riddance!

    • Jerry

      Joeaiello:  Again YOU have shown where your brains are – libs always go to name calling when they have nothing intelligent to say.  And your brains my friend are in your butt

  • Jerry

    This is all part of the “new civility” asked by Obama.  Guess it hasn’t gone very far.  WTF is wrong with these jokers aka democrats?  Do they think it’s okay for the rest of the American public to subsidize a few?   Guess so – cause they (politicians) continue to live off of us – while doing nothing except using name calling to make their point?!
    Reid, Pelosi, Schumer – the party is over for you and your buds.  Just call it quits and stay home – we’ll all be a lot better off 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_V35XRQGHZ5GXGU4RLTJL6B2XLI Kevin

    This can all be summed up in one sentence: Harry Reid is holding the nation hostage by not allowing the Senate to vote on the FAA authorization that has passed the House of Representatives.

    Any questions, Chuck Schumer?

  • Anonymous

    I wonder what it is in the Capitol that causes once sane people to go insane?  I figure it must be either the water or more likely, having to rebreathe their own hot air! Oddly enough, the effects can be directly linked to long term exposure!   Therefore, as caring citizens, we should help those long suffering nutcases by turning them out of office!  After all,  its easy to tell just how sick they truely are just by listening to them speak, or should I say rant? Yep, most of the creatures inhabiting the halls of congress show a dramatic decline of reason, honesty, and the most telling of all the symptoms, the lack of a civil tongue. And if you watch their pressers or floor speeches, you can see all of the symptoms I’ve mentioned, and more! Let’s do our duty by these insane, blubbering and drooling sad sacks and retire them to their front porch rocking chairs, where they can’t hurt themselves or us anymore. As you offer your hand in help, please remember that the worst of the sufferers have been there in office the longest.

  • steelergirlz

    Obviously we don’t need the FAA. If they insist on bringing
    them back though, here’s a few things they need to give us first. Do away with the following. Eliminate Federal taxes, including the 7.5% U.S.
    federal excise tax on domestic travel, a $3.70 domestic segment tax, and a
    $16.30 international arrival/departure tax. NOW they are also wanting the
    following: increasing the Federal Excise tax on air travelers and airlines and
    doubling several other governmental fees. Another proposal under consideration
    would add a new $35 takeoff tax to every ticket. So HEY what’s another 70.00
    round trip just to get your ass off the ground!

  • Bob Knows

    Libtards bash “corporate jets” as one of their standard talking points, but behind their lying backs they are refusing to pass the FAA temporary bill without unlimited subsidies for corporate jet airports.  Democrap liars are what they do, not what they say.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_V35XRQGHZ5GXGU4RLTJL6B2XLI Kevin

      I agree. At least with the business jets, the owner/user actually PAID for them. With this funding for low-use commercial flights, someone other than the passenger is making the payment so the passenger can get an almost-free ride off the taxpayer.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_V35XRQGHZ5GXGU4RLTJL6B2XLI Kevin

      I agree. At least with the business jets, the owner/user actually PAID for them. With this funding for low-use commercial flights, someone other than the passenger is making the payment so the passenger can get an almost-free ride off the taxpayer.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_V35XRQGHZ5GXGU4RLTJL6B2XLI Kevin

      I agree. At least with the business jets, the owner/user actually PAID for them. With this funding for low-use commercial flights, someone other than the passenger is making the payment so the passenger can get an almost-free ride off the taxpayer.