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Sat Apr 27, 2013, 12:04 AM

The New Republic on the "Senate Cave"


Try to do something about senseless gun violence and you’ll see tumbleweeds blowing across the Senate floor. Try to make life a bit less stressful for the average business traveler and you’ll have no trouble finding backup. Since the sequester forced the FAA to furlough 10 percent of its air traffic controllers this week, leading to average flight delays of roughly an hour, pretty much every senator with a mileage-club departure lounge in her state (and even some without one) had rushed to undo the cuts. Democrats Amy Klobuchar, Mark Udall, Kirsten Gillibrand, Tom Carper, and Richard Blumenthal—all weighed in with legislation or quick-fix ideas. Last night, Jay Rockefeller, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, struck a deal with his Republican counterpart, John Thune, to end the great trail of tears in the sky, and the Senate quickly approved it. We could be out of our misery by Friday afternoon.

I can understand why Republicans like Thune were desperate for a way out of this: The politics were brutal for them. The GOP not only leans heavily on the business-class demographic for money and votes. The party’s fingerprints were all over the knife that made the cuts. As even a Fox News report conceded, Republicans effectively triggered the sequester by refusing to negotiate with the president over tax increases.


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