Last night, the Senate approved a bipartisan bill to halt furloughs of air traffic controllers. The measure was cosponsored by Sens. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), and Mark Udall (D-Colo.). The House of Representatives is expected to approve the measure today.
The legislation maintains the savings in the sequester and provides the Secretary of Transportation the flexibility to avoid furloughs of essential employees, such as air traffic controllers, at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Two months ago, Sen. Toomey and Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) co-authored legislation that would have achieved the savings of the sequester while giving the administration the flexibility to cut the lowest priority spending items throughout the federal government rather than the across-the-board spending cuts in the sequester.
Preferring to make the political point that spending cuts were not manageable, the President rejected the Toomey-Inhofe approach and insisted on making the most disruptive spending cuts possible.
"I am delighted that my Democratic colleagues have finally come around to accept that the spending cuts of the sequester are entirely manageable," said Sen. Toomey. "Senate approval of this measure to halt the furloughs of air traffic controllers is great news and a victory for common sense. This bill, a narrower version of the legislation Sen. Inhofe and I proposed, preserves essential services and cuts lower priority spending. It's what we need to do across the entire federal government."