Sen. Tom Coburn is a busy man. Not only is he preparing to attack Social Security, but he's been pivotal in helping to destroy jobs, airline security and force Americans to foot the bill in the process with his blocking of the new FAA reauthorization. Now you know why I threw up when he stepped into the Gang of Six negotiations. C&L has been covering the tea party's crazed crazed attacks of the FAA because of their anti-union agenda and now the Senate has joined in their madness.
The House of Representatives adjourned for summer recess last night without resolving a dispute over Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) funding, meaning that almost 4,000 FAA employees will remain furloughed for another month and that dozens of construction projects will remain on hold. Furloughing thousands of employees and delaying construction projects can only hurt a sagging economy, and CNN reports that tens of thousands of workers could be affected:
The work stoppage will have a direct impact on about 24,000 construction workers engaged in those projects, indirectly impact 11,000 others and hurt 35,000 support workers, such as food service vendors, said Steve Sandherr of Associated General Contractors of America.
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) blasted her party for causing the impasse by insisting on including "extraneous" provisions in the funding bill:
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, breaking with her party, called on Congress to pass a temporary extension that was devoid of any complicating policy issues.
"We're getting ready to leave for a month. We should not shut down the FAA because of a rider put on the extension of the FAA legislation that has not been negotiated," Hutchison said.
"It is not honorable for the House to send an extraneous amendment" on a funding extension, she said.
In addition to the negative economic impact on FAA employees and tens of thousands of others, the dispute could cost the federal government $1.2 billion in lost revenue due to uncollected taxes on airfare. (That lost revenue isn't staying in taxpayers' pockets, by the way: Airlines are raising fares to offset the decrease in taxes, so customers aren't saving any money — they're just paying more to the airlines rather than funding the FAA.)
As is often the case, the Senate failed to pass the necessary legislation in large part due to the obstinacy of Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK):
On Monday, Sens. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., chairman of the committee that oversees the FAA, and Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas, the senior Republican on the committee, floated a proposal to restore full operating authority to the FAA while cutting air service subsidies $71 million. The plan fell apart when Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., said he would use parliamentary procedures to tie up the Senate in an effort to prevent a vote on the measure.
Coburn's refusal to allow a vote, thus costing the government $1.2 billion in revenue, is remarkable for a senator who has made a career of showboating about the budget deficit.
Coburn was not the only Republican who threw a wrench into these un-American activities which are motivated by their hate of unions more than anything else:
House Transportation Committee Chairman John Mica (R-FL), in a fit of spite, attached extra cuts to rural airports (in mostly Democratic states) to his version of the bill, which he admitted was merely meant to tweak Democratic senators for not going along with the GOP’s union busting. If the FAA shutdown continues for another month, it will cost the government about $1.2 billion. But for the GOP, that seems to be an acceptable price for advancing an anti-union agenda.
Last night, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) attempted to pass a clean FAA reauthorization through the Senate by unanimous consent. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) objected.
So much for worrying about the federal debt. What a sham. This Congress is what the administration thinks they can shame into raising revenues in any way possible? Or to even promote job growth in America?