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Shuster Delivers the Weekly GOP Address

WashingtonCongressman Bill Shuster, Chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, delivers this week's GOP Address. He discusses the House or Representatives efforts to ease the flight delays Americans have been experiencing because of the way in which the president's administration implemented the president's automatic sequestration cuts.
The video of the address is available here.

The full transcript follows.

“Hello, I’m Congressman Bill Shuster, and I serve as chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.  

“This week, many Americans had their flights delayed or cancelled because of the way in which the Obama administration chose to implement the president’s automatic sequestration cuts.  Travelers were fed up, and rightly so.  Sequestration is bad policy – the wrong way to reduce the deficit.  That’s why House Republicans have voted twice to replace these automatic cuts with smarter ones.

“Fortunately, after a public outcry and pressure from Congress, the Obama Administration agreed to a legislative solution to address these flight delays.  That travelers will soon get relief is good news, but it shouldn’t have taken this long, and you deserve an explanation of what happened.

“From the get-go, the Federal Aviation Administration could have acted on its own to responsibly implement the president’s sequester without inflicting this kind of pain on the public.  

“They could have cut spending elsewhere.  They could have taken into account air traffic patterns, and made sure controllers would be in place where they were most needed.  Or they could have reached out to Congress and the airlines to have a plan in place ahead of time.

“Instead, the FAA imposed blanket across-the-board furloughs, including air traffic controllers, causing these extensive delays.  Why?  Because 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.

“So rather than fix the problem immediately, the Obama Administration spent days claiming its hands were tied, when just the opposite was true.  The government’s top lawyers during the Clinton and George W. Bush Administrations came out and stated that the FAA had options to limit or avoid these delays.  Members of both parties echoed these sentiments, asking the FAA to explain its decision-making.  Republicans kept the heat on using every available platform, including Twitter, with the hashtag ObamaFlightDelays.

“The pressure worked, and again we’ve seen that when the people speak out, government has an obligation to listen.

“This episode is yet another demonstration of why we need to replace the president’s sequester with smarter, more responsible cuts.  The American people deserve better, and leaders in Washington have an obligation to respect your time and money.

“Here in the House, we began planning well ahead of time to make sure the president’s sequester would not interfere with the business of the people and their ability to tour the Capitol.  Going back even further – to Republicans’ first vote in the majority in 2011 – we have focused on making operations more efficient and cost-effective.  As a result, the House is on track to save taxpayers more than $400 million in operational costs.  We’ve shown working families we can do more with less, just as they are.  This isn’t something to pat our backs over; it’s just what good government looks like.

“Thank you for making your voice heard.  Enjoy the rest of your weekend.”