Republicans Rip FAA for Furloughing Workers

Friday, 08 Mar 2013 01:59 PM

By Dan Weil

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Republicans in Congress are hitting the Federal Aviation Administration hard for quickly issuing furlough notices to employees now that automatic spending cuts have begun.

According to the Hill, top Republicans on the House and Senate Transportation committees have sent letters to Transportation Secretary Ray Lahood in protest wanting to know why the furloughs can't be averted by pursuing other budget-saving remedies.

“It is our understanding that FAA employees were notified Tuesday of an intended ‘Save Money’ furlough for up to 11 work days, beginning on or about April 7,” South Dakota Sen. John Thune and Pennsylvania Rep. Bill Shuster wrote.

“We are disappointed that this is the route that the FAA and the administration have chosen to take, rather than sharpening their pencils and finding cost savings in other areas."

The letter also criticized the Obama administration for choosing to warn travelers about flight delays before the cuts even started, rather than answering Congress’ plea for more information.

“On February 25, 2013, we formally requested information regarding FAA’s plan for sequestration,” the congressmen wrote. “That letter went unanswered similar to previous requests.” The administration didn’t give any real answers in congressional testimony either, they said.

Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn also criticized the furlough, writing in a Wall Street Journal op-ed piece Friday that he sees a pattern in how the Obama administration is publicly handling the sequester.

“The administration has claimed that its hands are tied and terrible things will happen, yet its warnings seem calibrated to sound scary but not too scary,” he wrote. “Transportation Secretary LaHood said that cuts to air-traffic control will force flight delays but won't compromise safety or cause air disasters.”

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