Nel's New Day

July 22, 2011

Conservatives Block Revenue, Jobs

Filed under: Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 10:04 PM

The conservatives not only walked out on negotiations today about raising the debt ceiling but also rejected collecting revenue and forced people to lose their jobs—all because of their petty approach toward colleagues.

The issue was the extension of the Federal Aviation Administration’s operating authority which expires at midnight today. When long-term authority for the FAA expired in 2007, conservatives refused to allow this long-term operating authority unless FAA members were refused union rights. Only 8 percent of the private sector are still allowed to belong to unions so the rich-people-supporters spend our time (when they’re not complaining about energy-efficient light bulbs) guaranteeing that public workers’ rights will be eliminated. Without this long-term operating authority, Congress had to keep giving extensions to the FAA—20 during the past four years, an average of five times each year.

By not renewing the operating authority, the country forfeiting $2 million each week because it won’t be collecting taxes that include the 7.5 percent ticket tax; a separate excise tax of $3.70 per segment, or a takeoff and landing; a $16.30 tax on international arrivals and departures; and a 6.25 percent tax on freight shipments. Airlines can collect the passenger security fee of $2.50 per segment and the “passenger facility charge,” or PFC, of up to $18 per round trip, which helps pay for local airport projects. Some people (not me!) might say that $2 million a week isn’t much money, but it amounts to almost $1 billion each month—every month. This inaction doesn’t mean you can get cheaper airline tickets: some airline companies such as U.S. Airways Group are simply raising prices to match what they would be if you had to pay taxes.

More loss for the country comes from not renewing FAA’s operating authority. Almost 4,000 employees will be “put on furlough,” meaning they have no jobs. Furloughed employees include engineers, administrative assistants and computer specialists but not air traffic controllers. Other jobs will also disappear because $2.5 billion in airport construction projects will immediate come to a halt. Companies who provide materials for the projects will lose money as well as more employees. Thanks to Congress, there’s more trickle-down-poverty. (Where are the jobs, Mr. Boehner?)

Because they passed a bill to keep the FAA funded through September 16, a generous 60 days, conservatives in the House may blame the Senate. This is where the pettiness ties in. Author of that bill, Rep. John Mica (R-FL), chair of the House transportation committee, added a provision restricting subsidies to small airports in 13 rural communities, including towns inNevada, home state of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid; West Virginia, whose senior senator is Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller; and Montana, whose senior senator, Max Baucus, chairs the Finance Committee. Is it obvious that all three of these senators are Democrat? And that Mica is a Republican?

Baucus and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) backed extension legislation without the rural airports language, but Republicans blocked that bill from a floor vote. Mica must have been looking in mirror when he ranted about Congress’s inability to pass the FAA extension: “Our nation’s aviation system cannot operate effectively under the Senate’s ongoing political gamesmanship.” He continued, “Clearly, some in the Senate have made a political decision to put special interest labor provisions above the safety of our nation’s aviation system.” He should have added “House” because they are initially to blame.

The earliest the issue can be taken up again is on Monday, when the Senate next meets.

1 Comment »

  1. This is getting sicker by the day. Do the Rs want to destroy this country?


    Comment by Lee Lynch — July 22, 2011 @ 10:20 PM | Reply

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