U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), a member of the Senate Finance Committee, praised Senate action late Thursday to alleviate the furloughs of air traffic controllers due to sequestration. The House of Representatives approved the measure on Friday.
"Getting our air traffic controllers back on the job is the right thing to do. The reverberations of flight delays throughout our economy have been harmful. We've found a fix for this one problem, but it's time for us to take broader action and make the tough decisions necessary to replace all of the sequestration cuts.
"I have never supported sequestration. I always thought that was a big mistake. These are across-the-board mindless cuts that say every priority in government is the same. That's just wrong. Thanks to sequestration-induced furloughs, they also put an undue burden on federal workers, including air traffic controllers, who have been contributing to solving our country's fiscal challenges for years through pay freezes and cuts to agency resources. Whether through savings from bringing our troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan, or through tax reforms, I would urge the Senate to find a way that we can replace sequestration for this current fiscal year with more responsible budget savings and then working through the appropriate committees for FY14.
"After eliminating the furloughs for air traffic controllers, I would also urge the Federal Aviation Administration to consider using the flexibility authorized by Congress to mitigate the severe affect sequestration is having on 149 contract towers, including five in Maryland that are scheduled to close in June. The overall portion of America's air traffic may be small, but the job losses will result in economic hardships for the individuals and their families, as well as the communities those air traffic control towers serve."