Recent republican talking points have sought to blame the Administration for the air travel delays caused by the sequester. For example, Fox news reported:
Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., said last week that the FAA "has made zero effort" to avoid the furloughs.http://www.foxnews.com/...
"The FAA's decision is a dangerous political stunt that could jeopardize the safety and security of air travelers," he said in a statement.
Today, on the Diane Rehm show Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood destroyed this Republican talking point.
All right. And many of the critics of this administration are saying that you all have furloughed these flight controllers when you could've done something else with the sequester, you could have taken money from elsewhere, that through these furloughs, what you're doing is trying to impact the public in the most severe way to make political points. How do you respond?
Nobody has looked out more for passengers and passenger safety than Ray LaHood, this DOT and President Obama's administration. We're the ones that implemented the three-hour tarmac rule. We're the ones that reduced tarmac delays. We're the ones that made the airlines give people their money back if their bags were lost. We have been looking out for passengers for 4 1/2 years. The idea that for some political reason we're trying to impact passengers is complete baloney.
We had to find $600 million. And we looked at every contract. We reduced contracts. We eliminated contracts. We actually laid off all of our temporary employees. We used the 20 percent flexibility that was given to us. But we have done everything possible so that passengers -- fliers would not be impacted.
But when you sequester FAA controllers, there is going to be slowdown in flight.
Attention Republicans. When the Democrats fight for government spending, they are fighting for things like paying air traffic controllers so that flights can safely arrive and depart on time. And when you cut spending there will be delays. And since you are the party that wanted to cut spending, why don't you take personal responsibility for the delays rather than blaming the Obama Administration.
I am glad that Secretary LaHood is not letting the Republicans getting away with it.