Editor’s note: Donna Brazile, a CNN contributor and a Democratic strategist, is vice chairwoman for voter registration and participation at the Democratic National Committee, a nationally syndicated columnist and an adjunct professor at Georgetown University. She was manager for the Al Gore-Joe Lieberman presidential campaign in 2000 and wrote “Cooking With Grease.”
By Donna Brazile for CNN— Some Republicans love to talk about “job-destroying” progressive policies, but hate to own up to their own trickle-down ways. It’s not that hard to get specific about the tepid economic recovery and all the Republican-backed policies that are destroying jobs though. Let me tell you about one we almost experienced.
Just this week, after securing a deal slashing $1 trillion in discretionary spending, House Republicans held up funding for the Federal Aviation Administration, putting 4,000 employees on unpaid furloughs and the jobs of tens of thousands of construction workers at risk.
This at a time when so many Americans feel downright despairing about the economy. This on top of the stock market sinking, and with Americans still desperate for work. Why did Republicans choose to play chicken with American jobs?
It’s because they believe that FAA workers have too many employee protections. Their hyperconservative ideology required them to put hardworking Americans’ livelihoods at risk to pressure the government to weaken workers’ rights. House Republicans wanted the Senate to approve their reversal of a rule change on unions that makes it easer for airline employees to win union representation.
Republicans were tone-deaf to wage this battle. One Senate Republican called the behavior of the House GOP “not honorable,” and a raft of editorials from newspapers on both sides of the aisle called the funding roadblock deplorable. The New York Times noted that the move even defunded airport inspectors, who play a vital role in ensuring the safety of air travelers around the country. Remarkably, these inspectors continued to do their jobs without pay.
Now, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced that he has brokered a deal to keep FAA workers on the job. The Senate is likely to pass the House’s conservative version of the funding bill, but Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood (a former Republican congressman, for what it’s worth), will maintain the right to keep open small airports that the House GOP has tried to shutter. Additionally, the disputed labor provisions will be moved to the FAA reauthorization bill, now tied up in Congress.
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