Friday, July 22, 2011

Bureaucrats now lecture Congress

Welcome to the fundamentally reshaped America. It's a land where bloated government agencies now actively engage in partisan politics, and use threats to make demands of Congress.

The U.S. Department of Transportation provides an example of such an out of control agency. The DOT  went on a written rant Thursday against the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

July 21, 2011
Key airport projects across the country in jeopardy
unless Congress passes an FAA bill 
Tomorrow night, the FAA reauthorization bill is set to expire.  And without swift action from Congress to pass an extension, the Federal Aviation Administration will be unable to move forward on important airport construction projects and thousands of FAA employees across the country will be immediately furloughed. 
Congress needs to do its work.  If they can’t pass a bill, new construction projects won’t begin.  And construction workers will suffer. 
Congress has already passed twenty short-term extensions to the FAA's reauthorization--putting a burden on our employees and creating enormous uncertainty for states and airports across the country. This is no way to run the best aviation system in the world. 
Now, unacceptable provisions in the House of Representative's version of the bill are holding up passage of another extension. 
If Congress can't reach an agreement by midnight tomorrow night, the Airport Improvement Program, which provides construction grants to airports, will be shut down and unable to provide roughly $2.5 billion for airport projects in all 50 states. 
Additionally, up to 4,000 FAA employees in 35 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico will be furloughed and forced to go without pay if Congress fails to pass an extension.  While air traffic control would continue, large numbers of employees in New Jersey, New York, California, Georgia, Oklahoma, Texas, Washington, Illinois, and D.C. will be affected. This includes many of FAA’s engineers, scientists, research analysts, administrative assistants, computer specialists, program managers and analysts, environmental protection specialists, and community planners. 
We need our employees at work, and states and airports need to be able to work on construction projects.  If Congress cannot resolve its differences, FAA programs and thousands of public and private sector jobs will be in jeopardy. 
Congress must pass an extension of the FAA bill now.

The arrogance displayed here is over the top. And it appears specifically pointed at Republican House leadership at a time when House, Senate and White House teams are attempting to negotiate a deal on much larger federal debt and budget issues.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is, or supposedly is, a Republican. He was when he served in Congress. You'd think he'd know the House is accountable to the people.

The DOT position is more specific and is tied to an immediate funding issue, but it comes across with the same ring as President Obama's recent warning (threat) that social security checks may not go out unless a larger spending deal is made, and the nation's debt ceiling is raised.

So I must ask: Did the DOT alone decide to go forward with its public, ranting demand? Or did it have orders from the White House to exercise some brinksmanship as a Democrat ally the in the larger partisan budget battle?

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