“The Democrats have lost on sequestration,” Journolist founder Ezra Klein declares flatly in his Washington Post blog. “That’s the simple reality of Friday’s vote to ease the pain for the Federal Aviation Administration. By assenting to it, Democrats have agreed to sequestration for the foreseeable future.”
President Obama and his party had believed “that the actual pain caused by sequestration would be so great that it would, in a matter of months, push the two sides to agree to a deal”–one that included tax increases and cut projected spending even more modestly than sequestration does.
The idea behind furloughing air traffic controllers was to inflict pain on ordinary Americans–or, as Klein calls them, “the politically powerful”–so as to pressure Republicans to raise taxes and to forgo cuts in inessential spending–or, as Klein calls it, “programs that affects [sic] the politically powerless.” Instead it was Democrats who felt pressure. The House vote on the Reducing Flight Delays Act was 361-41, with just 29 Democrats and 12 Republicans in dissent. The Senate didn’t even bother with a vote, passing the bill by unanimous consent.