APIt took only four days of complaints from angry travellers for Congress to act and fix the delays piling up at airports as a result of the across-the-board cuts known as the sequester.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Friday that President Barack Obama would sign the “Reducing Flight Delays Act of 2013,” which passed both the House and Senate in sweeping bipartisan votes.
This is a massive cave from both Obama and Congressional Democrats on sequestration cuts, giving the party little-to-no leverage to address other cuts to domestic programs.
It’s also a huge win for Republicans, who have adopted a brilliant strategy toward the sequester thus far.
In the White House press briefing Friday, Carney basically admitted defeat.
“I think you’re imagining leverage here,” he said, in response to a question about why the FAA isn’t holding the FAA hostage for more comprehensive fix to the sequester.
The White House will be hard-pressed to find another situation in which it can gain better leverage. Until now, Obama has banked on public outrage over the cuts to bring Republicans to the table for a bigger solution that included tax increases.
But that opportunity vanished in just four days. Republicans masterfully controlled the messaging on flight delays this week, and in the end, they were the more unified party.
Majority Leader Eric Cantor noted this a memo to House Republicans after the House’s vote Friday.
“Consider that the Democrats’ opening position was they would only replace the sequester with tax increases,” Cantor wrote in the memo, which was provided to Business Insider by a House leadership source.
“By the first of this week, Senator Reid proposed replacing the whole sequester with phony war savings. And by last night, Senate Democrats were adopting our targeted ‘cut this, not that’ approach. This victory is in large part a result of our standing together under the banner of #Obamaflightdelays.”
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