“This administration wishes to impose this inconvenience, this disruption and this cost,” Toomey said Tuesday on the Senate floor. “I am extremely disappointed that the administration would inflict this kind of harm … all for a political agenda.
Toomey said the administration wants the automatic spending cuts to affect the public in order to make the political point that there are “no circumstances where we can ever cut funding at all.”
But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) countered that Congress is to blame for sequestration and that Republicans should agree to Democrats’ proposals to turn off the “painful” spending cuts.
“The reason that sequester is taking effect is that Congress enacted it into law. A vast majority of Republicans voted for this,” Reid said. “We need to do something about sequester.”
Reid said he’d prefer a “timeout” on sequester cuts for the next five months and pay for it with funds available from wrapping up the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. He added that he hoped public outcries from the public would motivate Republicans to agree to his idea and that lawmakers would find a long-term solution within the five-month timeout.
“I hope public outcries from long lines at airports will serve as a wake up call for my Republican friends,” Reid said.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) blamed “poor planning” by the administration for the FAA furloughs. He said that Obama should ask Congress for “flexibility” in cutting spending, so that cuts could be made in other areas instead of FAA staffing.
"The FAA’s mismanagement of this issue is a source of bipartisan frustration," McConnell said. "Our goal here shouldn’t be to score political points on the backs of weary travelers, it should be to fix the problem."