Chris Hayes points to the thousands of low-income Americans suffering under sequestration as Congress rushes through a fix for the FAA cuts that were delaying their flights and takes a look at just who members of Congress are responsive to. As you might have guessed, it's the affluent and the donor class and not your average citizen and certainly not the poor.
April 27, 2013

While thousands of low-income Americans are suffering under sequestration, our Congress somehow managed to rush through a fix for the FAA cuts that were delaying their their flights. Imagine that! As Chris Hayes discussed in the opening of his show this Friday, it's so nice to see that those members of Congress have got their priorities in order.

HAYES: But we begin tonight with the big flashing headline breaking news of the day, from the least popular branch of government, the branch of government widely seen as the most dysfunctional branch of government, the one that contains the right-wing Republican House caucus committed to obstruction above all else. In that branch of government today, today we saw a remarkable display of urgency and pragmatic bipartisan problem solving come together in a matter of hours to fix the most pressing trouble facing America today.

And that very pressing problem is extended travel delays for frequent flyers and members of Congress. Yes, it was a long and tortured path to triumph on this issue. but today in a 361 to 41 vote, a resounding margin, House of Representatives overwhelmingly agreed to tackle the scourge of flight delays being caused by the furlough of federal aviation workers.

Sadly the first piece of legislation that members of Congress saw fit to pass will make those lines at the airports shorter, and as Hayes reminded his audience, here's who will not be getting relief from the bill passed this Friday.

HAYES: Thousands of cancer patients on Medicare who are being turned away by clinics where they were treated with expensive chemotherapy drugs. The roughly 70,000 kids expected to lose eligibility for Head Start programs. The 1,000 would-be scientific researchers who won't get National Science Foundation grants. The older Americans who stand to get millions fewer meals delivered from the Meals on Wheels program. The low income families who are getting bumped from Section 8 housing assistance. Everyone who eats anything in this country, as a sequester stands to cost us 2100 food inspections.

With Congress undoing the one and only thing you could say was good about the sequester, which is that it bound together the poor, middle class and the wealthy with the across the board cuts, sadly, this should not be that surprising, given their voting records.

Hayes pointed to a study from Larry M. Bartels of Princeton which noted that:

In almost every instance, senators appear to be considerably more responsive to the opinions of affluent constituents than to the opinions of middle-class constituents, while the opinions of constituents in the bottom third of the income distribution have no apparent statistical effect on their senators’ roll call votes.

Hayes showed a chart of what that looks like in real life, with the FAA deal this Friday being the perfect example of that and took another slap at the Congress for their vote on this deal and called it "one step away from voting themselves a pay raise in the midst of the sequester." After showing clips of Senators Bob Corker and John McCain talking about not wanting to "inconvenience people in this really unacceptable way" at the airports, Hayes followed up with this.

HAYES: Inconvenience people in an unacceptable way. Here's what I wish could happen today. I wish every single cancer patient and every kid who is getting kicked out of Head Start and every person losing a job at a government facility because of cut backs or furloughs, every family losing Section 8 housing assistance -- I wish every single one of them could have gotten together and been bussed by the thousands from all parts of the country, to Reagan National Airport and then rolled out on to the runway and strung out in a line that stretches across the entire field so that those planes carrying members of Congress who just cast this vote couldn't take off. How's that for inconvenience, Senator?

Amen to that.

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