The White House is demanding that Congress come back from their vacations and pass a bill that will keep the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) operating through August. They sent Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood out on the morning news programs to make their points. Yet, this is but one hostage situation of many that are about to come down the pike. In this case, it's more complicated than a simple kidnapping of the FAA's budget. The Republicans are destroying unprofitable rural airports that rely on federal subsidies to survive, and they're doing it in Majority Leader Harry Reid and Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee chairman Jay Rockefeller's home states. They aren't offering to fund those airports if the Democrats do something. They're saying that the FAA will stay closed in August unless Reid and Rockefeller's airports are destroyed. That's their demand on the short-term extension. For a permanent reauthorization, their demand is that Delta Airlines be able to count employees who don't vote in any unionization election as 'no' votes. So, you know, regardless of price never
fly on Delta Airlines.
Once this frustrating and ridiculous fight over the FAA is resolved, we'll have to deal with a bunch of outrageous riders the House Republicans are going to put in all their appropriations bills: banning money for Planned Parenthood, gutting public broadcasting, etc. Then we'll have the showdown on the SuperCommittee: will they raise taxes, or will the triggers get pulled?
If the SuperCommittee manages to agree to sweeping tax reform, the debate over the Bush tax cuts will go away, but if it does not, we'll have another hostage situation next year. Will the Republicans agree to rewrite the tax code or will Obama let all of Bush's tax cuts expire, raising taxes on everyone who pays income tax?
So, get used to having the Republicans make everything a hostage situation. It's easy for them to do because they don't care about anything but screwing people. The more people hate them, the more they hate government, too. Ironically, this works for them.