Monday, April 29, 2013

One Or The Other

Late last week Congress and the president passed legislation to stop the effects the sequester had in delaying air traffic.  Legislators pointed to the trouble travelers had to endure, but others saw Congress' swift action as a means to avoid flight delays themselves as they were preparing to board flights home from D.C.  Meanwhile, cuts to other programs were left unattended.
The sequester cuts furloughed air traffic controllers, thus bringing about the delays. 

Airlines reportedly lost millions each day due to flight delays; that probably inspired Congress to act, among other things.  But it's interesting how they fixed the problem.  Via the NY Times: 
The money will be shifted from airport improvement funds, and none would come from additional revenues, once a key demand of Mr. Obama and the Democrats. The 361-to-41 vote came less than 24 hours after the Senate rushed the measure through.

If money meant for improvements is being transferred to cover personnel pay, what does that mean for the local ports of entry? 

Henry Cuellar wants to help secure $61 million for bridge upgrades in Laredo.  Where is this money going to come from?  This amount is supposedly included in the budget for the upcoming year.  However, the way Congress is operating these days, I don't see the funding process improving.  If the trend continues -- and there's no indication to think otherwise -- improvements will have to wait while our representatives squabble over sequester details.

Cuts will be the norm unless everybody agrees on what direction the budget should take.  Trade, however, will have to continue unfettered.  To do so the ports will have to remain properly manned.  Furloughs will have their breaking point and Congress will realize that employees along the border come first.  Bridge improvements and Henry's photo ops with big, plastic checks will have to wait.

(Laredo officials supposedly secured $27 million last year from Washington.  Forgive me if I seem a little skeptical if Henry Cuellar now wants to get his hands on 61 mil. for infrastructure improvements.)

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