FAA flight situation proves that officials can cooperate
Apparently, the government does listen – at least to frequent flyers.
Sequestration furloughs hit the U.S. air traffic system hard recently, causing flight delays across the country, according to the Associated Press. Because of the sequestration-required cuts in funding, the Federal Aviation Administration reduced the work schedules of nearly all of its 47,000 employees by one day every two weeks, including 15,000 air traffic controllers, as well as thousands of air traffic supervisors, managers and technicians.
Due to the shortage of staffing, planes had to take off and land less frequently, so the remaining controllers weren't overwhelmed.
Some airlines canceled flights, while other flights were held up across the nation, which in turn led to lost revenue for the airlines and delayed, angry travelers.
The government's solution? They rushed a bill through to give the FAA the ability to transfer up to $253 million from an airport improvement fund. Now, the money will be used to meet the staffing challenges.
It's great to see that the government can work quickly together to find a solution when needed, but the bigger question is, why can't they do this for sequestration as a whole?
At this point, there are a variety of issues still looming out there because of sequestration, which calls for $85 billion in across-the-board, government-wide spending cuts that must be achieved by Sept. 30. The irony is, the government created this situation. As the U.S. approached its debt limit two years ago, Republicans and Democrats couldn't agree on a solution. So they compromised, according to the Associated Press, and requested that every government program, project and activity be cut equally. There are some exceptions to the cuts, such as Medicare.
The flight delays aren't the first time the government has worked to find some sort of solution to a crisis brought about by the cuts.
At the end of March, the Department of Defense was given flexibility by Congress to delay civilian employee furloughs. And, according to ABC News, they also reinstated the tuition assistance program for active duty troops.
However, we have to wonder: what will it take to bring about a cohesive plan? What will it take for our elected officials to sit down at the table, hash it out, and come up with a realistic solution, instead of a series of quick fixes as crises pop up?
It's time to let your opinions be known, Yuma. Reach out to your elected representatives and share your thoughts on sequestration and the need for a viable solution.