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Travelers around the country are seeing thousands of flight delays, many up to 2 hours, the result of furloughs the Federal Aviation Administration started earlier this week following sequestration cuts which went into effect last month. The FAA, like many other agencies, are requiring their 47,000 employees - including 13,000 air-traffic controllers – to take extra unpaid days off, one day for every two weeks in this case.
In addition to the inconvenience for travelers, per the Passenger Rights Act passed in 2011, airlines are expected to compensate them for delays and time spent on the tarmac. Airlines, as a result, are calling on the government to fix the furlough issue or, at least, give them exceptions while furloughs are in effect.
It’s one of the first obvious effects sequestration is having on the general population, but if you are expecting Washington to do anything about it, don’t hold your breath. Rather both parties are pointing fingers at each other.
Senator Pat Toomey argued the FAA could cut from less important areas. House Appropriations Committee Chairman Harold Rogers accused the administration of mishandling the situation.
Democrats counter Republicans could have avoided the situation and only they now have the power to abate the impact. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Congress botched the job and the FAA had no choice but to cut back in labor costs to absorb the sequestration cuts.
One thing everyone seems to agree on is that it will only get worse as we head into the summer travel season if no action is taken.
We talk to Jim Marinitti, an Air Traffic Controller at Miami International Airport and Bob King, Energy & Transportation Editor for POLITICO.
The we talk internet sales tax with Tracy Gordon, Fellow for Economic Studies at The Brookings Institution.
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It's good to talk.