The bill in question was a temporary extension (the 21st such since 2007) of the Federal Aviation Administration's operating authority. Since July 23 of this year the lack of this authority had caused the FAA to miss collecting taxes of $28.6 million a day. If the partial suspension of FAA operations continued until September, when all our Congresscritters will have completed
The partial shutdown was caused by the Democrat's insistence on preserving $17 million in pork and changing a unionization process rule that has been in place for 75 years. So, for Senate Democrats, pork preservation and enabling public service unions to more easily organize are higher priorities than jobs and tax receipts. These preferences come together under the general heading of 'bribing the base.'
The Democrats were getting a bit squirmy about it, though. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and the president pleaded with Congress to solve the problem; As if the problem was the whole Congress and not just Democrats in the Senate insisting on pork and a mini-version of card-check:
The GOP-led House passed a long-term FAA funding bill last month that included a controversial labor provision that would overturn a decision by the National Mediation Board allowing airline and railroad employees to form a union by simple-majority vote. Republicans, who have long been concerned about union intimidation in these votes, want to keep the former rule treating a non-vote as a "no" vote.The rural airport subsidies come from the well-worn pork barrel Congressman John Murtha made infamous with the John Murtha Johnstown-Cambria County Airport.
But once that bill stalled over Democratic objections, lawmakers turned to a short-term extension that has passed 20 times before to keep the FAA operating since 2007.
But that effort stalled, too, when Republicans added a separate provision stripping $16.5 million in subsidies for rural airline services.
The labor provision may have been 'controversial,' but only because the Senate Democrats were insisting on letting a bunch of bureaucrats at the NMB change a rule that's been in place for over 75 years.
So what did the Senate Democrats do after passing a temporary extension they could have passed 2 weeks earlier? They called a press conference to tell us the delay was all the fault of the Republicans. This charade proved too much even for ABC:
What is scary is that Senior Democrats were not feigning outrage and shock when there wasn't universal acceptance of their ludicrous assertions - they truly believe what they said. When leaders' foundational beliefs and tried and true methods suddenly don't work - even are mocked - dangerous things can happen.
There is a final twist. The Transportation Secretary announced that he is not bound by the pork elimination provision, in any case. So, the Democrats cost the United States Treasury over $200 million in tax receipts, and then will go ahead and spend another $17 million on several examples of Murtha's folly in violation of the law they just passed.
Update 2:05PM: Debra J. Saunders reports in the San Francisco Chronicle that Senator Barbara Boxer, blocked a vote on the legislation.
Sen. Barbara Boxer chided Karl for showing "a certain naivete" in not understanding that "this is about government threats." She also challenged Karl by asking if he had reported on GOP opposition to a vote on a "clean" bill. "Clean" here means no pork cuts.
Boxer seemed to have forgotten that she blocked a vote on the House Bill.