Relief In Sight: Congress Leaves Town

Here in the national manufacturing center for hot air, we just finished sweating out one of the lengthiest heat waves in the city’s history with 16 consecutive days at or above 90 degrees, and many of those over 100 and setting records. 

It ended as the 112th Congress went on summer recess after raising the debt ceiling but not before a very heated debate over who deserves more blame for the country’s financial tzoris. The president got a debt extension until after the next election – or so he thinks, but it’s all returning in December — Republicans protected their wealthy benefactors from having to pay their fair share of taxes, and checks for seniors, men and women in the armed forces and veterans won’t stop after all.
In their haste to leave town the Congress left a lot of unfinished business, not the least of which is funding for the FAA. If they are as interested in jobs and deficits as they claim, they’d have dealt with that one, too, but the so-called Tea Party Caucus in the House and a single senator (Tom Coburn, R-OK) derailed a bipartisan compromise.
A major dispute centers on subsidies for small airports serving 150 rural communities at an annual cost of $200 million. That sounds like a lot until you consider that is the amount of airline ticket taxes collected in a single week that the government is losing because Congress failed to act.  So what happens to the taxes passengers are still paying? The airlines are shoving all your money into their corporate pockets. So while Congress is taking another vacation, 4,000 federal employees and 70,000 private sector workers have been laid off on 200 aviation projects nationally.
But don’t fret, the tea party and the rest of the Congress were in a hurry to leave the national schvitz so they could go home and tell you what a great job they’re doing, what bums the other side is, and why you should send them more money to help them go back to jobs they disdain in a city they profess to hate. Go figure.
About the Author
Douglas M. Bloomfield is a syndicated columnist, Washington lobbyist and consultant. He spent nine years as the legislative director and chief lobbyist for AIPAC.