Better late than …

Published 11:25 am Friday, August 5, 2011

Daily Herald editorial

Although the affect on most Americans may have seemed small, when Congress adjourned without reauthorizing funding for part of the Federal Aviation Administration, it did the country a real disservice — all in the name of partisan bickering. It is good to learn that, despite being on recess, Congress has found a way to overcome the problem and reauthorize the agency’s full operations.

Legislation to reauthorize the part of the FAA’s budget which is related to airport construction projects expired on Monday, throwing about 4,000 FAA employees out of work and halting construction projects on airports all over the country. Because Congress is on recess for the month of August, it’s a situation that is not likely to be quickly resolved.

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As seems always to be the case in Washington these days, the sticking point is that the bill to reauthorize the construction-related portion of the FAA’s activities includes language that the House Republican majority inserted to match its own agenda, and to which Senate Democrats object. The details of that language hardly matter; what is important is that Republicans surely knew it was a roadblock to passing the bill and Democrats played their part exactly as expected — with the result being 4,000 more Americans out of work.

Was it another indicator that most members of Congress would rather fight over ideology than do what is right? Yes.

Now, word out of Washington is that some kind of deal has been brokered — not only at the last minute, but well after it — to correct the situation. It’s a shame that Congress — much like the Minnesota legislature — can’t put partisan bickering aside long enough to complete its work in a timely fashion.