“Maybe because they fly home each weekend, the members of Congress who insisted these cuts take hold finally realized that they actually apply to them, too,” Obama said.
Rushed through Congress with remarkable speed, the bill marked a shift for Democrats who had hoped the impact of the cuts would increase pressure on Republicans to reverse the broad cuts.
Republicans have rejected Obama’s proposal to replace the spending reductions with a mix of spending cuts and tax increases.
“There are some in the Obama administration who thought inflicting pain on the public would give the president more leverage to avoid making necessary spending cuts, and to impose more tax hikes on the American people,” said Rep. Bill Shuster of Pennsylvania in the Republican address.
Shuster, chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said the FAA could have averted the flight delays on its own by cutting costs elsewhere and rejiggering work schedules, but chose not to do so.
The bill signed by Obama would let the FAA use up to $253 million from an airport improvement program and other accounts to halt the furloughs through the Sept. 30 end of the government’s fiscal year.
Faced with the prospect that emboldened Republicans will push to selectively undo other painful effects of the cuts, the White House said Friday that a piecemeal approach would be impractical, but wouldn’t definitely rule out signing other fixes.