Editorial: Feeling the pain

Leading up to the deadline for Congress to come to an agreement over a budget or face the automatic across-the-board cuts, known as “sequestration,” there were those who tried to persuade Americans that they wouldn’t notice the impact the reductions would have on government services or programs.

And, the federal government didn’t come to a grinding halt once the deadline passed, leaving those supporters of the automatic cuts to essentially say “see, no big deal!”

But this view ignores the hundreds of thousands of federal employees who were forced to take pay cuts or were furloughed during the process. Nor did apologists in Congress seem to feel any compassion for those Americans who would feel these cuts through the reductions in federal rent subsidies.

It’s funny, though, how the tune has changed when members actually being to encounter the sequestration ... as in this week when the furloughs hit the Federal Aviation Administration’s air traffic controllers, an event that caused flight delays and longer lines at airports.

That sent a number of Republicans out looking for someone to blame.

“As a result of the administration’s poor planning and, I would argue, political motives, thousands of people were stuck on tarmacs over the past few days,” fumed Sen. Mitch McConnell, Republican from Kentucky and Senate minority leader.

Then there was another member of the Kentucky congressional delegation, Rep. Hal Rogers who asked, “The first question I want answered is, why didn’t you tell us about it beforehand?” He actually had the nerve to say this to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta during a House committee hearing: “You didn’t forewarn us this was coming. You didn’t advise us how to handle it.

“This imperial attitude on the part of this administration — you are the latest example of it — is disgusting.”

And then there’s Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., chairman of the House Transportation Committee, who argues that the administration is using politics to influence how the FAA is handling the sequestration and that the FAA did have wiggle room.

Sorry ... that simply doesn’t hold water.

Before the end of September, the FAA is being forced to cut $637 million from its budget as part of the sequestration. And under the rules, the agency doesn’t get to actually pick and choose where the money comes from, instead it has to be evenly spread around.

FAA officials say — with justification — they had little choice.

Notice the lack of introspection on the part of the Republicans here.

Before the sequestration took effect, any warnings about what would happen were dismissed as fear mongering on the part of the president and the Democrats.

Now it’s almost as if they didn’t understand what they were voting for when they allowed the across-the-board cuts to take place.

Maybe they didn’t ... but if not, why not?

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