Dr. No Jobs
Last month, it was Rep. John “Job Killer” Mica (R-FL) whose extreme anti-worker agenda shut down the Federal Aviation Administration. After being dogged by accusations of killing jobs thanks to a successful campaign by the Communications Workers of America (the union fighting to organize workers at Delta Airlines), Mica cried uncle and the House of Representatives passed a clean four-month FAA extension to stop the FAA from shutting down again tomorrow when the current short-term extension runs out. The House bill also includes a short-term extension of the surface transportation (“highway”) bill to keep badly-needed construction projects around the country on track.
It looked like smooth sailing for this vital bill until one of the Senate’s masters of gridlock stepped in to block the Senate from acting on the House-passed bill. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) is known as “Dr. No” due to his penchant for blocking even routine bills over various and sundry petty grievances. Coburn’s objection to the FAA-transportation bill:
“Congress’s refusal to live within its means has created an economic disaster and a debt that is now our greatest national security threat,” he said.
[Coburn's spokesman] said Coburn was also opposed to provisions in the transportation bill designed to increase the number of bike paths and trees along roadways.
“The beautification mandate is an indefensible threat against public safety that forces states to prioritize bike paths over bridge repair,” he said.
Yes, you read that right. Coburn will shut down the FAA because he thinks bike paths and trees are “an indefensible threat against public safety.”
Let’s review the consequences of Coburn’s vehement opposition to bike paths and trees:
- 80,000 people out work by the weekend
- Another 1.8 MILLION jobs nationwide threatened if the surface transportation bill is not renewed before the end of the month
- $2.5 BILLION in job-creating construction projects idled immediately, with tens of billions of dollars more at risk by month’s end
- $200 MILLION a week in lost revenue to the government because the FAA can’t collect taxes while it is shut down
- A taxpayer-funded windfall to the airlines, who last time the FAA shut down simply kept ticket prices high and pocketed the money they’d otherwise pass on to the FAA in taxes
In addition to killing jobs, Coburn’s antics are also holding up the Senate from approving billions in emergency aid for disaster victims.