April 25, 2013
In a marathon session before a weeklong recess, Senators finally found a way to agree on something Thursday night, when they passed a bill to end flight controller furloughs. Thanks to the sequester, the Federal Aviation Administration has to figure out a way to save $637 million before Sept. 30, so cuts must be made. The furloughs kicked in this week, leaving many airports short on air traffic controllers and contributing to thousands of delays. Then there's the safety risk on top of that. Big mess. However, the Senate's new bill would allow the FAA to move the $253 million it needs to avoid furloughs from its $400 million-strong new airport fund to make up the difference.
This is great news for travelers. And would you believe that people are actually saying nice things about the Senate? For once, the do-nothing Congress did something that will actually make people's lives better. They failed to do that last week, when a series of much-anticipated gun control measures fizzled following a confusing vote and filibuster. This earned the upper house a week's worth of lambasting. (Jon Stewart did it best.) Of course, the Senate's been irking Americans for a long time, which is part of the reason that the approval rating of Congress plummeted to its lowest level ever a few months ago.
But now that it's done its job, the Senate can sit back and smile for a second. The bill still must clear the House, where a vote's expected to take place on Friday. Thankfully, though, the Senators got their job done just in time to hop on planes bound for their home districts. America can breathe easier knowing they won't be stuck in airports for hours every time they want to fly. The gun thing is a done deal, though.
April 25, 2013