Despite sequester fix, lawmakers blame flight delays for missed votes

Lawmakers in the House blamed a series of missed votes on flight delays this week, despite the end of air traffic controller furloughs that Congress addressed last month.

"Mr. Speaker, I missed my connecting flight into Washington yesterday afternoon," Rep. Jim Jordon (R-Ohio) said in a statement in the Congressional Record.

"As a result, I was absent from the House floor during last night's three roll-call votes," Jordan continued. "Had I been present, I would have voted in favor of H.R. 588, H.R. 291, and H.R. 507."

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Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) offered a similar explanation for the same series of votes. 

"Mr. Speaker, on roll-call No. 129 on H.R. 588, I am not recorded because of flight delays. Had I been present, I would have voted 'aye,'" Walorski said.

"On roll-call No. 130 on H.R. 291, I am not recorded because of flight delays. Had I been present, I would have voted 'aye,'" she continued. "On roll-call No. 131 on H.R. 507, I am not recorded because of flight delays. Had I been present, I would have voted 'aye.''

The complaints came two weeks after Congress passed a bill to end furloughs at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that were causing hundreds of flight delays per day. The FAA said it had to furlough air traffic controllers and other essential personnel because of the sequester.

The automatic budget cutting law requires the FAA to reduce its spending for 2013 by $600 million.

The bill passed by Congress gave the FAA flexibility to move money within its budget to avoid the air traffic controller furloughs and reduce the number of flight delays.

Lawmakers were criticized for approving a fix for flight delays right before they left Washington for a week-long recess, but not dealing with other parts of the sequester.


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