Common sense, political convenience

Thoughts from Behind the Pressline

It almost boggles the mind how quickly our elected officials can move when properly motivated and when, in their collective judgment, know they must act. Last weekend those stars aligned over the disgraceful display of the furloughed Air Traffic Controllers by the Federal Aviation Administration. The automatic budget cuts related to the sequester that forced the FAA to furlough air traffic controllers, was quickly resolved.

The FAA was trying to cope with $637 million worth of cuts. They chose to close 149 air-traffic control towers across the U.S. which delayed thousands of flights a day. So the House passed a measure to stop the furloughs and sent it to on to President Obama for his quick signature. The Senate agreed to give the Department of Transportation the ability to transfer $250 million to the FAA. So much for having their hands tied.

Sequester was the coward’s way out for all branches of the federal government. Neither Congress nor the President did their job to solve the financial problems facing the nation. Each blames the other for being unwilling to step forward with solutions to solve these difficult problems. Clearly the administration has the ability to either make the public feel the pain of the sequester cuts or act wisely to use government funds to minimize the hardship of sequester on U.S. citizens.

Now we hear, according to recent reports, House and Senate leadership from both parties are engaged in discussions to exempt lawmakers and congressional staff from enrolling in the health care exchanges as part of the Affordable Healthcare Act, now known as ObamaCare. U.S. Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) responded to these developments, demanding that lawmakers be beholden to the same laws they have imposed on the American people. He also expressed disappointment that leadership staff and committee staff exempted themselves from the law when it was being drafted.

Dan Alexander is associate publisher of New Market Press and publisher and CEO of Denton Publications. He may be reached at dan@newmarketpressvt.com or dan@denpubs.com.

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