Rep. Ellmers: Vote to End FAA Furloughs Could Have Waited

Thursday, 02 May 2013 01:22 PM

By Courtney Coren

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Rep. Renee Ellmers said Wednesday that sequester cuts affecting cancer patients on Medicare should have been addressed first before Congress acted to put furloughed air traffic controllers back in the towers.

Appearing on MSNBC's "All In With Chris Hayes," the North Carolina Republican said she thought the 2 percent cut in Medicare payments for cancer-related drugs and services was more important because the patients "are vulnerable and need our help."

Ellmers introduced legislation last month in an effort to turn back those cuts. Congress has yet to act.

"I have to admit, I, like so many, were saying, you know, this is a very important issue. We don't want people waiting in lines in airports," Ellmers said of the Federal Aviation Administration furloughs of some controllers.

"But at the same time, when we have cancer patients, who are vulnerable and need our help, I really thought that should've been the place that we should have gone first."

However, Ellmers, who ended up supporting the bill to put controllers back to work, told Hayes she believes now that the passage of the FAA measure "actually helps our cause" because "we've seen that [Congress] can actually vote" to alter how the sequester cuts are implemented.

"That helps me to get more co-sponsors on this [Medicare/cancer] bill," she added.

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