As the slowdown worsened at our busiest airports this week, the White House made little if any pretense about what this fight was really all about: political payback for being forced to accept the sequestered spending cuts.
“We did everything we could to avert the sequester, and unfortunately, Republicans decided as a political matter that it was a home run for them to inflict this upon the American people,” said White House press secretary Jay Carney.
What Mr. Carney doesn’t acknowledge is that the sequester language also was approved by the Democrat-controlled Senate and signed into law by the president.
There’s another important point that has gotten lost in all of this, a senior House Republican official told me. “Even if they believe they have to resort to some furloughs, they obviously can make decisions about where the furloughs fall,” the official said. “Put in place a plan that would reflect where they would have the least impact on the public. Instead, they’ve chosen to implement these furloughs in the most careless way possible. Did they do any research about what is the most effective way to do this? Did they get any input from the airlines? What planning went into place here? Apparently none,” he said.
In a blistering Senate speech Wednesday, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, pointed out that “the Obama administration knew about the sequestration for months. Yet it gave the traveling public and Congress only three days’ notice before implementing the furloughs that are now being blamed for these delays.”
The result: The airline schedules are in chaos, the FAA’s budget decisions are being run out of the West Wing, and Mr. Obama is still playing “blood sport” politics on Capitol Hill.
Donald Lambro is a syndicated columnist and contributor to The Washington Times.