Politics

ObamaCare bureaucracy spared from sequestration

ObamaCare bureaucracy spared from sequestration

Well, of course the ObamaCare army isn’t suffering any “cuts” or furloughs due to sequestration.  The socialist ruling class is very eager to begin exercising its new powers.  They’re not going to trim any flab away from the bouncing baby bureaucratic Kraken they just gave birth to, are they?  Especially since it’s already over-budget and under-performing.

From The Hill:

The office implementing most of President Obama’s healthcare law is not furloughing its workers as a result of sequestration, its director said Wednesday.

Gary Cohen, director of the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, said Wednesday that his office has not cut its workers’ hours and pay as a result of the automatic budget cuts that went into effect in March.

Republicans have accused the Obama administration of politicizing the sequester by targeting highly visible programs like airport security and White House tours.

The fact that ObamaCare officials haven’t been furloughed shows that the cuts are political, Rep. Greg Harper (R-Miss.) said Wednesday.

“We’re talking about at least a 15 percent furlough of current air-traffic controllers, resulting in delays and perhaps safety concerns, but yet this has been a selective political item by the administration,” Harper said.

Keep this in mind the next time you hear some Democrat trying to claim the sequester “cuts” affecting services such as air-traffic control are all Republicans’ fault, and Obama is just a helpless bystander.

It looks like his failure to peddle that absurd narrative is getting to President Obama.  From the Associated Press:

Under growing pressure, the Obama administration signaled Wednesday it might accept legislation eliminating Federal Aviation Administration furloughs blamed for lengthy delays affecting airline passengers, while leaving the rest of $85 billion in across-the-board spending cuts in place.

The disclosure came as sentiment grew among Senate Democrats as well as Republicans for legislation to ease the impact of the cuts on the FAA, and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood held talks with key senators.

“I think there was a meeting of the minds” on steps to remedy the situation, Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., said after the meeting. He said he hoped for a resolution before the Senate begins a scheduled weeklong vacation at week’s end.

Said LaHood, “There are too many delays and common ordinary citizens are being affected.”

They wouldn’t be talking this way if they thought they had a chance of pinning those flight delays on their political enemies.

The Administration doesn’t need any new legislation to address the air-traffic controller furloughs.  On Wednesday, Obama’s hometown paper, the Chicago Tribuneran an article entitled “Hostages on the tarmac!” that informed voters, “You’re ignoring the sequester.  The President isn’t happy.”  The Tribune listed the things Americans would need to ignore, in order to believe the air-traffic mess isn’t the Administration’s fault:

Americans would have to ignore the plan that U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., delivered in early March to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, detailing how LaHood’s FAA could save twice that amount — $1.2 billion.
Americans would have to ignore House Republicans who note that LaHood’s supposedly destitute FAA is spending some $500 million on consultants — and $300 million on travel and supplies.

And Americans would have to ignore Democrats’ refusal to accept congressional Republicans’ offer to give the administration more flexibility in sequester cuts — an offer House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., reiterated during a meeting Monday with the Tribune editorial board. No, the White House doesn’t want flexibility. The White House wants what the president predicted March 1.

While making reasonable allowances for the Republican propensity for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, the Tribune snorted, “The longer this intentionally imposed air traffic slowdown drags on, the more incompetent LaHood and other administration officials look.  They’ve had a year and a half to prepare for a sequester that the White House proposed, and that the president signed into law.  Yet their idea of good management is to subject thousands of civilian air controllers to rolling furloughs? These officials’ plan for winning Americans’ hearts and minds is to toy not only with flight schedules, but also with a moribund economy that relies on the efficiency of U.S. air travel?”

It should also be noted that even with sequestration factored in, the FAA is spending more than Obama’s 2013 budget requested.  The President called for $15.172 billion.  The actual funding, with sequestration, for the FAA will be $15.265 billion.  How many air-traffic controllers was Obama planning to furlough if his budget request had been adopted?

The Wall Street Journal notes that somehow the FAA managed to find enough money to “update its interactive ‘command center’ tool on its website so passengers can check if their airports are behind schedule due to what it calls sequester-related ‘staffing’ problems,” an expenditure that drew the ire of Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK).  Disgruntled FAA employees got in touch with Coburn to dish dirt on their managers:

As one email put it, “the FAA management has stated in meetings that they need to make the furloughs as hard as possible for the public so that they understand how serious it is.”

Strategies include encouraging union workers to take the same furlough day to increase congestion. “I am disgusted with everything that I see since the sequester took place,” another FAA employee wrote. “Whether in HQ or at the field level it is clear that our management has no intention of managing anything. The only effort that I see is geared towards generating fear and demonstrating failure.”

We don’t need any special legislation to clear up this mess.  Barack Obama and his operatives just need to do their damn jobs.

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