posted on February 15, 2013 13:24
Sequestration appears on track to take effect March 1 - the faltering economic recovery is now in its 44th month, unemployment remains high, growth is sluggish, and forecasts for 2013 aren't much rosier.
President Obama unveiled no new ideas at his State of the Union address in Washington Tuesday evening, prompting HAI President Matt Zuccaro to caution, "The government's current funding runs out at the end of March, and once again Congress and the White House appear steadfast in their refusal to deal with economic and fiscal policy. It is of significant concern to HAI and our members that critical services required by our members from the FAA at all levels will be drastically reduced and our National Airspace System (NAS) will take a huge hit, imperiling the air traffic control system if and when sequestration takes effect."
Sequestration will trigger a $483 million cut in the FAA operations budget, which would mean mandatory furloughs among FAA workers including air traffic controllers and aviation safety inspectors and systems specialists. Current initiatives such as Next Gen would be in jeopardy. Sadly, nothing is expected to change before the end of March, and The U.S. House of Representatives is now working on yet another continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government. There is no indication coming from Capitol Hill that the CR will include any language that would undo or unwind the sequester. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) indicated after Obama's address that tax reform is dead and the sequester will happen March 1 unless Senate Democrats pass an alternative backed by Obama.
In his fourth State of the Union address, Obama challenged Congress to find a way to dodge the sequester and seize the opportunity for more enduring deficit reduction. The president offered up a $50 billion package of immediate spending on transportation infrastructure and proposed boosting the federal minimum hourly wage to $9 from $7.25, indexing the rate to the cost of living.