Sequester Games

A mandatory 4 percent cut to the budget of the Federal Aviation Administration (to what it was in 2010) results in furloughing 10 percent of air traffic controllers and delays are projected for 40 percent of flights. The Administration says it has no choice, and such consequences are unavoidable, and yet the office in the Department of Health and Human Services is able to avoid furloughs altogether. As Rich Lowry notes, greater mandatory cuts under Gramm-Rudman in the 1980s did not affect air traffic. Moreover, in 2007 the FAA was able to handle more air traffic with fewer controllers. It’s almost as if the Department of Transportation is trying to make the sequester as painful as possible.

UPDATE: On Thursday, the Senate voted to ensure that the Department of Transportation has sufficient flexibility to avoid furloughs of air traffic controllers. The House is expected to follow suit shortly.