“I can’t figure out why this program of such importance would be treated in this fashion unless there are those who simply wish to demonstrate anytime we attempt to reduce spending. . .we cannot do that without having huge consequences to the safety and security of Americans,” Moran says.
He notes the bipartisan support for the bill, saying of the 23 co-sponsors, 13 are Democrats. He also warned that while other programs have time to work out funding issues, the contract tower program would essentially terminate on April 7 under DOT’s plan.
Without immediate passage of the amendment, “the Senate will have no opportunity to save this program. We will have lost the only opportunity, which is now on this continuing resolution, to make certain this program remains in place,” Moran says. ”My plea is between now and when the 30 hours run on the post-cloture debate of this bill, there are those in the Senate who will work with me and others to see [that] the amendment process works.”
But despite Moran’s plea, his comments appeared to gain little traction among senior Senate leaders, including Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who stated, “Everyone can give a heart-rending speech. We have tens of thousands of children who will not able to go to Head Start. I think that is pretty compelling. There are many other people in this body who could give a tearjerker--just like the senator tried to do.”
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) disputed Moran’s warnings that the CR is the only opportunity to save the towers.“ The president has said he is ready to sit down with the Republicans, pass a balanced plan which would fix the sequester, get the FAA back up to snuff, take care of all of our problems which were caused because of the sequester, deficit reduction, and balance our budget.”
She, too, said that the contract tower program is only one of many difficult cuts and also pointed to the Head Start program. “Why isn’t there more discussion about that when we know every dollar invested in a child in Head Start saves $10 because they get that head start in life? Where is the outrage of the 421,000 fewer HIV tests? This is a public health emergency.”
She also notes that 10,000 teachers are slated to lose their jobs.