Friday, July 11, 2014

Area congressmen critique deal, say more left to fix

April 27. 2013 12:00AM

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Thousands of flights were cancelled this week nationwide as hundreds of air traffic controllers were furloughed, leaving airports short in a key safety measure.

And though there were no delays reported at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport this week that were attributable to those furloughs, if the furlough would have continued, it’s likely there would have been.

Congressional action — first in the Senate Thursday night, then in the House Friday morning — ended any concerns about the future of flight schedules, at least through this fiscal year.

It’s something that shouldn’t have been a concern anyway, according to two area congressmen, one who believes the sequester is necessary and one who believes there was a better way to help reduce the national deficit.

U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Zionsville, noted the measure Congress approved was similar to one he co-authored two months ago. Toomey chided President Obama for playing politics and allowing the furloughs to take effect.

“They made the political decision they would like to make this a disruptive exercise,” Toomey said in a conference call Friday.

The measure does not address any other government programs that have been impacted by the $85 billion across-the-board cuts brought on by the sequester.

U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-Moosic, said: “The House leadership must find the same sense of urgency and bipartisan cooperation to help the families who have had children kicked out of Head Start, the seniors who have lost access to Meals on Wheels, the hardworking employees who have been laid off due to defense cuts, and the 750,000 Americans who have lost a job or won’t find one because of the sequester by acting on a balanced deficit reduction plan.”

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