Alternate headline: Harry Reid Is A Dirty, Rotten Weasel Who Wants To Keep Minuscule Sequester Cuts As Visible And Painful As Possible.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid decided to block votes on amendments that would have make the sequester cuts sensible and practically invisible to the American public. The Wall Street Journal ripped into him for this blatantly political move.
Consider last week’s fiasco involving the air-traffic control system. As part of the White House’s Operation Wreak Havoc response to the sequester spending cuts, the Department of Transportation warned last week that 149 control towers at small, regional airports will close down. Local newspapers are running headlines about the imminent loss of flight service.
Next on the list could be furloughs at major airports that would mean flight delays for millions of travelers. The DOT helpfully warns that these delays could be “very painful for the flying public.” The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) accounts for only 20% of the Transportation budget but under White House and Congressional sequester math somehow absorbs 60% of the cuts.
Many of the service cutbacks could have been easily avoided by a budget amendment last week sponsored by Republican Senator Jerry Moran of Kansas. He proposed replacing $50 million of FAA sequester cuts with savings from unspent balances, which are a kind of agency slush fund, and by reducing other low-priority spending. Great idea.
How did the vote turn out? There wasn’t one. Majority Leader Reid blocked the amendment from ever getting to the Senate floor. Mr. Moran believes that public safety is compromised by these control-tower cuts, and he calls the Reid gambit “a very dangerous way to try to score political points.”
Mr. Reid used the same tactics last week to block nearly a dozen other measures to soften the impact of the sequester.
Read the whole thing. Of course, Reid had the blessing of President Obama, who also wants to make the American people believe that any cuts to government spending, even if they’re only cuts to the projected increase in spending, are intolerable. They both belong in a hall of shame.