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Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood laid out the likely impact of the sequester on the nation's air travel, and there's a lot not to like. Because the Federal Aviation Administration would be forced to furlough "the vast majority" of its employees for one or two days per pay period, more than 100 air control towers at small airports might be forced to close entirely. Fewer air traffic controllers on duty at larger airports, meanwhile, mean:
  • Flights to major cities like New York, Chicago and San Francisco could experience delays of up to 90 minutes during peak hours because we will have fewer controllers on staff.
  • Delays in those major airports will ripple across the country.
That means airlines are likely to cut flights. Runway equipment maintenance and repair could also be affected, creating still more sources of delays.

And of course, all of these delays and inconveniences in the lives of non-federal workers will come because of pay cuts of up to 20 percent for, in the case of the FAA, nearly 47,000 workers. That will have a ripple effect on the economy as they cut back on their regular spending, affecting stores and restaurants in their communities. All because Republicans are pushing cuts cuts cuts with no revenue increases to balance them out, against the will of the American people.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 10:07 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  But aren't you glad Reagan fired the air traffic (6+ / 0-)

    controllers?  Now they can't even strike to try to get better hours or pay.

    If I recall correctly, he used MILITARY air traffic controllers when the others were out on strike.  This means that those holes have been filled before and can be again.

    Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
    I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
    —Spike Milligan

    by polecat on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 10:20:04 AM PST

    •  That's the beauty of the sequester. (5+ / 0-)

      The military gets cut, too.  No way will they waste their slightly smaller budget for the rest of the FY supporting civilian air traffic.

      You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

      by Rich in PA on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 10:40:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, they will if they are told to do so (0+ / 0-)

        And air traffic controllers are not being looked at in the military's cuts.

        Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence. Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear. ~William E. Gladstone, 1866

        by absdoggy on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 11:00:05 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You forget (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          shoeless, Kevvboy

          the military still has combat flight ops going on halfway around the world... unlike 1980, their air traffic controllers are busy...and they will not be pulled out of that area of operations to cover civilian air traffic...

          Fear doesn't just breed incomprehension. It also breeds a spiteful, resentful hate of anyone and everyone who is in any way different from you.

          by awesumtenor on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 11:27:11 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Repugs (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    They will fold just on the defense issues alone .
    Jerks will sell the our "military will be unprepared if cuts go through" even though it was their doing that got us here.

    In all affairs it's a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted." Bertrand Russell (1872-1970)

    by lippythelion69 on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 10:23:53 AM PST

  •  You are correct on flights (4+ / 0-)

    but airport maintenance etc do not fall under the pervue of the FAA.

    "The airport operator has management control of the airport, meaning that the operator has the right to operate and develop the airport. The airport operator is responsible for the airport’s long- and short-term planning, financial performance, maintenance, operation and compliance with numerous federal, state and local laws and regulations. Historically, airlines and airports have worked cooperatively to facilitate passenger needs and to achieve smooth and efficient operations for airlines."
    Now what could happen is that maintenance work that must be inspected by the FAA could be delayed because no one is available to inspect it.

    Why is it that, as a culture, we are more comfortable seeing two men holding guns than holding hands?

    by jsfox on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 10:27:12 AM PST

  •  It would be fun to watch a GOP tantrum (9+ / 0-)

    significantly cut Defense Spending and cause major disruptions to the capitalist business class.

    Fingers crossed.

    "Work for something because it is good, not just because it stands a chance to succeed." -- Vaclav Havel

    by greendem on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 10:31:48 AM PST

  •  This should make the GOP very happy. (12+ / 0-)

    Americans needlessly impacted in the wallet, commoners grossly inconvenienced, more things aren't getting accomplished: its a republican wet dream.

    Why are they trying to avoid this, again?

    It has everything they stand for in it.

    The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

    by xxdr zombiexx on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 10:35:35 AM PST

    •  I don't think Republicans are trying (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      to avoid the sequester - at least the ignorant fools who presently have control in the Republican party are bragging that they are refusing to avoid it.  And John Boehner - but I repeat myself.

      I have to fly next week - back home Friday, March 1st.  Hopefully I can get home before the really bad ramifications of the sequester hit the airports.  I don't have to fly again for two months.

      "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

      by SueDe on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 11:05:40 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  It wouldn't be airport closures. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mr Robert

    Some small airports have control towers, some don't.  You can run a commercial airport of some small-to-middling size without one.  

    You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

    by Rich in PA on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 10:38:21 AM PST

  •  How would this affect private business travel? (4+ / 0-)

    I mean companies (or individuals) that own (or lease) their own private jets to fly their high executives around the country. I'm guessing even they require federal air traffic control. What a shame it would be if the Koch brothers or Sheldon Adelson couldn't get to some big Washington or Las Vegas lobbyist shindig because the air traffic control system was functioning at only some minimal level because of the domestic budget cuts that they supported (and lobbied and paid for).

    Men must learn now with pity to dispense; For policy sits above conscience. — William Shakespeare, 'Timon of Athens', Act III, Scene II

    by dewtx on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 10:41:19 AM PST

    •  Depending on the airport, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      they use exactly the same ATC system as the big boys.  And my guess is that the closed towers will mostly be at the smaller airports catering to private aviation.

      Still enjoying my stimulus package.

      by Kevvboy on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 11:48:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Hate to burst your bubble (0+ / 0-)

        But reduced number of ATC personnel will mean reduced hours at the major airports as well.

        Plus TSA will be furloughing THEIR employees too. So expect the security lines to be longer at every airport as well.

        I'm beginning to wonder if the Federal agencies will stack the deck and make the heaviest cuts in March...

        •  I'm not in a "bubble" (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          but thanks for your slightly condescending reply.  Please point out where I claimed there would not be reduced hours at major airports.  The LaHood letter talks about closing towers altogether and I speculate they will be at the smaller airports (which is in fact what he says).  The big boys in their private jets will feel it as much as Joe Q Public Airport Customer.

          Still enjoying my stimulus package.

          by Kevvboy on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 12:33:06 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  My apologies (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Kevvboy, dewtx

            I misinterpreted your post.

            A lot of the little airports operate on limited hours now. I know some aren't staffed between 11pm to 7am. IIRC, you can only land at those if you're flying under visual flight rules.

            I wonder -- if the major airlines have to cut flights, what does that do to companies like Netjet?

            •  Convenience, Efficiency, Safety (0+ / 0-)

              Visual flight rules and instrument flight rules are unrelated to whether there is a tower operating on the field.  A flight most certainly can arrive or depart under instrument flight rules at an airport without an operating control tower.  In fact, it's not even unusual.

              At an airport with a control tower, the tower personnel deliver your IFR clearance before takeoff and close your IFR flight plan after you land.  At an airport without a tower, you call up a flight service station and get your IFR clearance by phone, and you close it (again) by phone, or in some cases over the radio prior to landing.

              Because each clearance delivered in this manner requires an ATC void time (a generous departure window), it reduces traffic capacity to about six departures an hour (or less), compared to maybe 30 best case with an operating tower.

              And of course an operating control tower is a very nice safety enhancement, particularly if they have radar.  It might surprise you to know that not all towers have a radar screen.

              "They let 'em vote, smoke, and drive -- even put 'em in pants! So what do you get? A -- a Democrat for President!" ~ Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!

              by craiger on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 09:54:06 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  Hey GOP, don't bring a #hashtag to a gunfight nt (4+ / 0-)

    I want 1 less Tiny Coffin, Why Don't You? Support The President's Gun Violence Plan.

    by JML9999 on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 10:41:53 AM PST

  •  If the Republicans are going to implode (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, zaka1, cybersaur, Diane dp

    They're going to insist that we all go along for the ride, and take the country down with them.

  •  The sequester, aside from being farce made real, (5+ / 0-)

    is actually a valuable stimulus for debate on such issues as the Defense budget and subsidies for air and road traffic vs. rail.

    Problem is, none of it's actually been debated, simply implemented.

    Republicans represent both sides: the insanely rich and vice versa.

    by Crashing Vor on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 10:42:26 AM PST

  •  The press conference was hilarious (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    but, but President Obama is "overplaying his hand" blah, blah, blah. Poor media, in the honor of fair and balanced the perpetual vacationing Republican House of Crazy must somehow be the President's fault.

    Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up. A. A. Milne

    by hulibow on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 10:42:54 AM PST

  •  Things may be resolved (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    doroma, david78209, PorridgeGun

    before March 25 which is the beginning of the Senate next week of vacation.  Honestly, I can't figure out the House calender -- there are darkened out dates and white dates but no indication what they mean.  I'm guessing the most days in one of the colors is vacation time -- aka in Cantor-speak -- time to be with constituents.

    These clowns have to fly home (except for Cantor and others in the region).  I don't think they want to spend too much time with the angry hoi poloi and increased risks of flying.

    " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

    by gchaucer2 on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 10:45:49 AM PST

  •  Target the TSA/FAA cuts please (7+ / 0-)

    to concentrate them at Washington Dulles, Washington National ("Reagan", still avoid using that name), and BWI. If they complain, Joe Biden can teach them how to find Amtrak. Or Megabus.

  •  Couldn't we just (7+ / 0-)

    Turf the entire "TSA" and save the nation billions of dollars wasted on patting down old ladies and 4 year olds at US airports?

  •  Now is a good time (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, david78209

    to remind the taxpaying citizen that they get what the pay for.

    And if someone does not want to pay for it, they are only trying to screw us all.

    ...someday - the armies of bitterness will all be going the same way. And they'll all walk together, and there'll be a dead terror from it. --Steinbeck

    by Seldom Seen on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 10:51:34 AM PST

  •  One nice thing... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zaka1, Calamity Jean

    ...will be fewer flights into O'Hare over our neighborhood, except for that occaisional big helicopter that flies to and from the southeast!

    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

    by JeffW on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 10:52:50 AM PST

    •  Are you talking about traffic (0+ / 0-)

      helicopters which are loud.  Our hospital also has a helicopter and it is pretty loud when it flies overhead.  

      "During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolution­ary act. " George Orwell

      by zaka1 on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 11:42:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Can the FAA ban private jet flights? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, david78209

    After all, each plane in the air requires just as much ATC resources, so it makes sense to favor big planes which carry more passengers.

    That should hit the 1% right where it hurts.

  •  The solution is absurdly simple (5+ / 0-)

    Just repeal the damn sequester.  Everybody agrees it's really bad - just get rid of it.

    But no - everybody just wants to play political games instead.

    “What’s the use of having developed a science well enough to make predictions if, in the end, all we’re willing to do is stand around and wait for them to come true?” - Sherwood Rowland

    by jrooth on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 10:53:23 AM PST

  •  Not one single flight will be delayed (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, Mr Robert, Willa Rogers, Whatithink

    this is SOP Village kabuki.

    The whole thing sucks but manufactured crisis with accompanying deadlines will be no different to the previous ones. Villagers of all stripes win we, the 99% lose.

  •  staffs (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Will congressional staffs also be cut?  Would eliminating the failed F-35 and the limited use Osprey save enough money to eliminate the sequester?  How about also doing away with many of the farm subsidies?  

    Apres Bush, le deluge.

    by melvynny on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 10:56:45 AM PST

  •  11,000 base civilian workers could be on furlough (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "As many as 11,000 civilian employees at Fort Bliss and a total of 800,000 Department of Defense civilian workers worldwide could face repeated furloughs if a budget deal can't be worked out in Washington, D.C., and automatic spending cuts kick in March 1.
    More than 7,000 civilian employees at White Sands Missile Range and Holloman Air Force Base could also be affected. The furloughs would be structured so that nearly all of the 800,000 civilian employees would lose one day of work per week for 22 weeks, starting in late April, officials said.
    That translates to losing 20 percent of their pay during that period."

  •  It'll be their excuse for not (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    coming back to DC to deal with the sequester - can't get a flight.  (Jee-bus I wish that was snark.)

  •  I hope Congress critters suffer most (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, Mr Robert, cybersaur, PJEvans

    as they go back and forth from the capital

    could we shut down the Reagan airport?  Please?

    by chloris creator on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 11:03:11 AM PST

    •  I wish they would close it anyway (0+ / 0-)

      There's so much restricted airspace around that airport  that I feel like I'm playing "You bet your license" every time I operate in or out of there.

      If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

      by Major Kong on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 11:32:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Flying Could Not Be Less Pleasant (0+ / 0-)

    I avoid it as much as possible.  It is to the point that flying causes physical pain.  Seems to me it could not be worse.

  •  Recycled comment -- Will air fares go down? (0+ / 0-)

    Federal Spending Cuts Threaten Delays in Air Travel

    WASHINGTON — Airlines and airports across the country are preparing for across-the-board federal budget cuts due to hit next week as if they were a hurricane, although with even less certainty about how many flights they will have to cancel and how many passengers will be stranded. The federal government is warning about delays that could begin in March, as the first cuts take effect, and reduced takeoffs and slower security lines that could worsen in April with furloughs.
     Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has told Congress that most of the Federal Aviation Administration’s 47,000 employees would face a day of furlough per two-week pay period, meaning on average about 10 percent fewer workers on any given day. There are about 14,750 air traffic controllers, including trainees, so that would mean on every shift there would be substantially fewer in all. In some areas, like New York, there could be problems even in advance of furloughs, if overtime budgets are cut.

    To handle such a major staff shortage but still maintain safety, federal aviation officials said they would accept fewer airplanes into the system, the same tactic they use in bad weather. That means that in places where airplanes normally follow one another with a six- or seven-mile gap, there might be a 10- to 20-mile gap. As a result, passengers may sit on tarmacs and endure delays as they wait for planes to push back from the gate.

    Well, last night I was pricing flights to the Netroots Nation convention in San Jose this June.  They're pretty expensive.  To save money I was even considering driving 80 miles to the Austin airport to catch a cheaper nonstop -- to San Francisco airport, not San Jose, and then taking a shuttle to the hotel.  I didn't do anything, wondering if something might make air fares go down.
     So this morning, I saw the news story I quoted some of above.  I think I'll wait and see if the sequester goes into effect and air travel goes to hell.  Enough people might be persuaded not to fly that air fares might go down.  On the other hand, if the airlines cancel flights and not as many people give up on travel, fares might go up.  I don't think the sequester, if it happens, will last until June, but it's possible Congress might kick the can down the road to June 1, and the sequester might happen then.  

    Maybe I'll just give up on the convention, and on any trip I can't make by train or automobile this summer.  Hey, tourism industry, I won't be alone in doing that.  You might want to lobby Congress to quit trying to run the country on the cheap.

    We're all pretty strange one way or another; some of us just hide it better. "Normal" is a dryer setting.

    by david78209 on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 11:09:28 AM PST

  •  Stop using us as political pawns (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    crankypatriot, westwoodmom04

    The sequester is really starting to piss me off.  It seems like both sides have decided to wait until after the damage is done to even attempt to fix anything.  The American people should not be used as pawns in their political game.  These have real consequences for regular people and it is completely avoidable.

    I have to take a plane several times in the next month.  I don't want to have to go through more hassle just so that one party or the other can try to gain some sort of political advantage by making my life more difficult.  Get a deal done now.  Don't wait until after it starts hurting people.

    •  I agree! (0+ / 0-)

      Please contact your two federal senators and federal representative and let them know how you feel. An, ask them what they are doing to stop these budget cuts from taking affect. Let them know how badly these cuts will impact you. For it is only if there offices are flooded with letters, calls, and e-mails will they start to act. That's if they want to keep their government job.

  •  Make sequester affect them (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mr Robert, zaka1, PJEvans

    Don't allow any congressperson to use an airplane until this nonsense is over.  Cut all personnel in dept. that pays congresspeople's, that cleans Capitol. Stop paying electric and fuel bills and especially their medical care premiums.  They can live without medical care until September. No more veterans hospital coverage for them. Let them go to private emergency rooms at full price cash in advance or no care.  And shut down the congressional tv facilities so the rest of don't have to hear them whine any more.

  •  Where do you get that 20% figure??? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Willa Rogers
    And of course, all of these delays and inconveniences in the lives of non-federal workers will come because of pay cuts of up to 20 percent for, in the case of the FAA, nearly 47,000 workers.

    It's a 3% cut across the board.  Yes, coming late in the year, it will be harder this first year, but c'mon.  This is simply more scare tactic bullshit. If there is any organization that can easily absorb 3% cuts, it is our federal government.

    The FAA can avoid ALL furloughs by scaling back capital spending projects, or simply delaying them.

    The same goes for the military.  Instead of cutting a battleship, they scare us by threatening to reduce troop readiness.  It's all bullshit.

    •  No they can't (0+ / 0-)

      Those cuts are coming on top of a reduced budget for this year because ALL Federal agencies are running under a continuing resolution.

      They've already spent five months of funds -- so they've got to make the cuts in what they will be getting until the CR runs out on March 27th.

      Since it looks unlikely that the Repubs will let Congress do anything, the next few weeks will be the audition for the REAL government shutdown...just in time for Easter...

      •  Oh geez.. (0+ / 0-)

        There's not going to be a gov't shutdown for a measly $40 Billion dollar shortfall.    It's a drop in the bucket..

        You are believing the hype.  No one will even notice unless our illustrious executive branch pushes the cuts into places that make the most suffer the most.

        •  The Continuing Resolution Runs Out 3/27 (0+ / 0-)

          I'm a retired Federal employee -- I have experienced several government shutdowns over my 33 year career.

          It's not the amount of money, the regs say if there is no appropriated money, then we have to shutdown.

          Now, over the years SOME agencies have managed to acquire a funding stream from non-appropriated money. In the case of HHS -- some of its' agencies are partially funded by the Medicare tax because they have oversight of the Medicare program.

          Even so, this will still mean furloughs, which means a reduction in pay -- which means the areas where the Federal employee works will see less money, because the employees will be forced to cut back on personal spending.

  •  The Pentagon should be ordered (0+ / 0-)

    to really let loose on military contractors. Make life utterly miserable for them. Start shutting down military facilities in Tea-party districts. If these contractors have the clout they seem to have, use them to put pressure on. This is pretty close to civil war albeit without actual street violence. So it's time to start issuing some kicks to the groin.

    For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. - Albert Camus

    by Anne Elk on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 11:55:41 AM PST

  •  I remember when Charles de Gaulle (0+ / 0-)

    went on French TV to plead with the French people to help him roll back a threatened coup d'etat over Algeria. This patrician, reserved man cried, "French men! French women! Help me!" The country did. It would be great if our reserved, mild-mannered President would come out on national TV and make a similar plea. He needs to ask for the country's help directly and with passion.

    For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. - Albert Camus

    by Anne Elk on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 12:00:11 PM PST

  •  What I don't get (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Willa Rogers, Whatithink

    and maybe someone can explain it to me, is this insistance that revenue increases be balanced by spending cuts.

    Republicans are pushing cuts cuts cuts with no revenue increases to balance them out,
    Not just here, but pretty much any conversation about the deficit or the sequester or that talks about the "Grand Bargain" has similar verbiage.

    Balance generally means two opposing things cancel each other leaving the system in the same condition: sitting on one side of a teeter totter is balanced by someone of equal weight sitting on the other side.

    In context of the deficit, revenue increases make the deficit go down, and expenditure cuts also make the deficit go down. Where is the balance? This would make sense if expenditures going UP had to be balanced by taxes going UP to pay for them (keeping the deficit 'balanced' if that is the goal)... But if lowering the deficit is the goal, then either expenditure cuts or tax increases would do.

    We tried cutting taxes then cutting spending to make up for it, that would seem 'balanced' but that didn't work very well, leaving the 99% in a lingering depression. If we are going for 'balance' we should try raising taxes and spending the extra money we bring in.

    "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

    by Orinoco on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 12:00:46 PM PST

  •  Correct me if I am wrong (0+ / 0-)

    but if we have cuts with increases that balance them out, how are they cuts? If you take 20% away and add it back, there is no cut. Or is this a way for the left to say you want cuts here, but not here? If so, why would you be against such a large cut to the military while it leaves SS/health care untouched? I understand that no vuts is preferable, but that is not going to happen, and the next time, they may include areas we hold in higher contempt without military cuts. IoW, Be careful what you wish may get it.

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