ABC News’ Z. Byron Wolf (@zbyronwolf) reports:
Rep. Jim Moran does not think highly of the Capitol Hill impasse that has shut down parts of the FAA, putting thousands out of work, costing the government up to $30 million each day, and forcing safety inspectors to work for free: Give in.
We asked him on ABC News’ Top Line political program if Senators should come to an agreement and pass an FAA authoritzation bill.
“You couldn’t – you couldn’t make this up, the idea that we have this impasse. It’s disappointing.”
UPDATE: On the show Moran answered that Senate Democrats should give in to Republican demands on nixing rural airports. But a spokesperson said he did not hear the question amid crosstalk and actually thinks Republicans should pass an authorization bill more in line with the senate.
But there is no disputing that the FAA is lowing money because of the standoff.
“We’re losing $200 million a week in ticket tax revenue. The passengers are paying it. The airports are pocketing it. We need that money. “
Moran voted against the debt ceiling compromise this week – one of 95 Democrats in the House to oppose President Obama and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
“The debt ceiling needed to be raised and we needed to jump on that train because it was leaving the station. The problem is that it was going in the wrong direction,” said Moran, who believes the government, rather than cutting spending, should be investing in things like infrastructure to kick-start job growth.
“What this federal government needs to be doing right now is investing in our human capital and particularly in our physical capital around this country, pumping money into this economy. The private sector isn’t going to do it until consumer demand increases. History has shown that the federal government is the best means when the private sector isn’t doing its job to pump money into the economy.”
Moran would have the government pump trillions into the national infrastructure.
“I think we ought to be putting money into our physical construction projects, our water infrastructure, our roads, our transit, our bridges. I mean there’s estimated $2.2 trillion of projects that need to be funded. For every billion dollars it’s 18,000 jobs. Two point trillion just over the five years, but what we’re going to do by this vote is to say, ‘we’re going to be on the margins. We’re really not going to be a play a role in reviving this economy.’”
“The only time we’ve gotten out of serious recessions – and this is the second-worst since the Great Depression – is by putting money into the economy, showing we have faith in the American workforce and the American work ethic and the private sector to step up to the plate,” he said, pointing out that instead of putting money directly into the economy, the federal government will be cut in every area except entitlement spending.
“I think this is a bad deal for America. I never think we sh – I don’t think we ever should have gotten in this position and you know it was more than a protest vote,” said Moran, who feels that House Democrats blinked too quickly in the game of legislative brinksmanship that brought the government within hours of a default. Ultimately, he said, a clean debt ceiling extension could have been passed.
“I really think had we played that – followed through on that game of chicken, there’s no way that the majority in the House were going to let tens of millions of Social Security recipients go without a check. They would have come banging on our door to make sure we had a clean debt ceiling,” he said. “But we got ourselves in a negotiating mode. The people we were negotiating were intransigent and this is the result.”
Moran argued that the stimulus bill, passed in early 2009, was more successful than many think.
“The fact is that the stimulus, even though a large part of it was tax cuts, what stimulus dollars were invested contributed to the fact that the stock market doubled in value from about 6,000 to 12,000,” he said. “Now the stimulus funds have dried up. State and local governments are cutting people. We cut almost 500,000 public sector workers in the last year and a half or so, and with this deal, we’re going to cut more than a million, I suspect, additional public sector workers. I’m not saying the federal government can be the answer, but most states have balanced budget restrictions. We’re the only source of putting, of investing money.”
We also spoke to Politico’s Jonathan Martin about his opus article, published today, “The Huntsman Drama”