Short article about our government jumping to save the airliners from delaying business people, but doing nothing to help poor people.
Find it here: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/27/opinion/congress-rushes-to-aid-the-powerful.html?smid=fb-share&_r=0
Congress Rushes to Aid the Powerful
By THE EDITORIAL BOARDCongress can't pass a budget or control guns or confirm judges on time, but this week members of both parties found something they could agree on, and in a big hurry: avoiding blame for inconveniencing air travelers. The Senate and House rushed through a bill that would avert furloughs to air traffic controllers, which were mandated by Congress's own sequester but proved embarrassing when flights began to back up around the country.
Published: April 26, 2013
Then lawmakers scurried out of town, taking a week's vacation while ignoring the low-income victims of the mandatory budget cuts, who have few representatives in Washington to protest their lost aid for housing, nutrition and education. Though they are suffering actual pain, not just inconvenience, no one rushed to give them a break from the sequester, and it is clear that no one will.
Catering to the needs of people with money, such as business travelers, is the kind of thing the country has come to expect in recent years from Congressional Republicans. But Democrats share full responsibility for this moment of cowardice. The Senate version of the bill passed by unanimous consent. That means not a single Democrat opposed bailing out travelers while poor kids are getting kicked out of Head Start or nutrition programs.
Even worse, the White House said President Obama would sign the bill. Apparently the ridicule pouring out of Republican offices with Twitter hashtags like #ObamaFlightDelays was extremely effective.
In the House, only 29 Democrats voted against the gift to travelers, which was made possible by switching some funds for airport improvement into the controllers budget. One of the few willing to brave the Republican attack machine was Steny Hoyer, the Democratic whip, who said he could not support repealing a piece of the sequester while preserving its harmful impact. "Seventy thousand children will be kicked out of Head Start," he said. "Nothing in this bill deals with them."
Delays in air travel annoy the kind of people who can inundate Congress with angry letters and e-mail messages. They also afflict lawmakers themselves. But cutting rental vouchers and jobless benefits affects only the voiceless. The more special-interest exceptions that are carved out of the sequester, the more the rest falls on the backs of those who can neither bear it nor stop it, promising many more years of hard-hearted cuts.
A single senator or a single president could have put principle before a little political pain and said no. But that would require courage, which, like government responsibility, is now in short supply.
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G.O.P. Claims Victory as Bill to Curb Flight Delays Passes (April 27, 2013)