Rep. Harris Votes for Federal Aviation Administration Flexibility Bill: “It Didn’t Have to Come to This”

From the office of Congressman Andy Harris:

Congressman Andy Harris, M.D. voted for the Reducing Flight Delays Act of 2013 (H.R. 1765) that would allow the Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood to transfer $253 million from the FAA’s Airport Improvement Program to their operations account – removing any remaining doubt that the FAA can end the furloughs announced Sunday at airports across the country and keep open the contract towers, including those in Easton and Salisbury.

“Today’s vote, in addition to the announcement by the FAA earlier this month to delay the closure of the Easton and Salisbury control towers until June 15, means there is no reason why these towers should not stay open indefinitely,” said Congressman Harris.

Congressman Harris wrote Administrator of the FAA Michael Huerta recently urging him to reconsider closing the control towers at the Easton and Salisbury airports. He also applauded the announcement earlier this month to delay the closures until June 15.

“It is unfortunate that President Obama has chosen to implement these budget cuts in the most painful manner possible to make a political point. He could have instructed the agencies in question to be prepared for these cuts or worked with Congress on a plan to institute greater flexibility so people would not have to be furloughed.

“This vote demonstrates that President Obama was wrong – these cuts could have been implemented in a way that doesn’t raise taxes, cost jobs, or threaten the American people’s livelihood. It’s too bad this President is more worried about scoring political points than doing what’s right.”

Remember – Congressman Harris found during a House Appropriations hearing on March 5th that White House claims saying Maryland children would not get vaccinated because of sequestration turned out to be suspect because President Obama’s own budget would cut the program in question three times more than sequestration.


  1. Because says

    It is unfortunate that the children we elected to the House of Representatives are unable to make the difficult choices to balance a budget on their own without resorting to holding their breath until other people fall down unconscious. Tell me Mr Harris, did you approve of the plan to fund additional construction of Abrams Tanks that the Army didn’t want? The Executive Branch only does what the legislation Congress enacts, tells them to. The Executive Branch only executes. The Legislature raises or lowers taxes and directs spending. That is why this is a problem. Blaming the President for the result of your Constitutionally Mandated responsibilities is typical of a spoiled rotten 12 year old.

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    • B says

      So the administration has no say in how dollars are spent at any particular agency, whose heads are selected by the administration?


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      • Cdev says

        Not in this case. The FAA budget is mostly salaries. To cut 5.1% required furloughs. The fix allowed money to be moved and congress had to authorize it.

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    • Mr. Moderate says

      Despite Rep. (“where is my medical coverage?”) Harris, I’m very grateful that Harford County, only because it is part f Maryland, is more highly regarded in the Congress that it is in the General Assembly.

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    • ALEX R says

      Because, If you think the “executive branch only does what the legislation Congress enacts tells them to do” then you are living in a dream world. Wake up, my friend. You couldn’t be more wrong.

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      • Because says

        Alex… one only has to look at the continued production of Abrams tanks the Army does not want. The same thing happened in the late 70′s with Ling Temco Vought and their continued manufacture of A-7 Corsairs, despite the Navy not wanting any. It’s about jobs in congressional districts – not about what’s in the best interest of the Nation. Thanks for playing.

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  2. Doc says

    At least we know that the time to get something passed is before Spring break.

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  3. Roman says

    Let Sequestration do what is supposed to do. When enough people have been inconvenienced, business lose contracts and people get laid off, then the mainstream will see the Tea Party and the GOP as the reason why! and vote them out of office.

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    • ALEX R says

      Actually, they will see that the administration refuses to balance the budget and that they need to elect an administration that is fiscally responsible so that all of our children aren’t saddled with a mountain of debt that can’t be repaid.

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      • serendipity says

        You are aware that our country accrued this debt from the former Republican Administration, President Bush, after a Democratic Administration, President Clinton, had a surplus by the end of his term in office. The debt was caused by a deceitful War in Iraq, The occupation and rebuilding of Iraq, The War in Afganistan and by the pilfering cronies of Bush that stole from the American people during his whole administration involving inflated contracts and oil prices. Bush’s cronies in Texas are still raping the American public through the over inflated price of oil. Stop being so partisan and start telling the truth of why this country went to hell, because it wasn’t the policies of Obama, it was the deficiencies and crimes of Bush.

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        • Harford Resident says

          Let’s not for get President Obama’s fiscal stimulus, cash-for-clunkers, insurance company bailouts and the Solyndra fiasco. Those have also significantly contributed to the current economic malaise

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          • serendipity says

            Gee, don’t you mean the Bush/Obama fiscal stimulus? You know Obama just took Bush’s idea and approved the measure that congress endorsed as well. Insurance company bail outs were done because the majority of damage would be incurred by ordinary citizens, not the insurance carriers who would just open up under a new name. As far as Solyndra goes, you’re naming a bad apple in the bunch, other ventures did succeed and if you think the government hasn’t been swindled before, I’ll just point you in Bush’s direction again. The cash for cars was done to encourage citizens to purchase new economical and environmentally friendly cars, to help save this earth for the next generation. Quite frankly, I fail to see what else he can do with a congress that can’t get anything done. I think your blame on the president is nothing but propaganda picked up from FOX NEWS.

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        • Ralph says

          The government continues to spend more than it takes in, even with the sequester. If the Democrats had their way the excess spending would be even more than it is now.

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          • serendipity says

            You are probably right, but at least the money would be spent on the citizens of the country we live in and not spent to blow up another country and its citizens.

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        • ALEX R says

          No, I’m not aware. I am aware that the nation was in debt at the end of the Clinton administration and that it was also in debt at the end of the Bush administration. And that the debt has skyrocketed since Obama took office.

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        • Brianc says

          Serendip, you can’t be 100% serious about “it is all bush’s fault, can you? You accurse many of watching too much Fox; maybe you been watching too much Maddow. As they say, just the facts: here they are in yearly national debt since 2000, you’ll see there is more than one Prez at fault…
          Date Dollar Amount
          09/30/2012 16,066,241,407,385.89
          09/30/2011 14,790,340,328,557.15
          09/30/2010 13,561,623,030,891.79
          09/30/2009 11,909,829,003,511.75
          09/30/2008 10,024,724,896,912.49
          09/30/2007 9,007,653,372,262.48
          09/30/2006 8,506,973,899,215.23
          09/30/2005 7,932,709,661,723.50
          09/30/2004 7,379,052,696,330.32
          09/30/2003 6,783,231,062,743.62
          09/30/2002 6,228,235,965,597.16
          09/30/2001 5,807,463,412,200.06
          09/30/2000 5,674,178,209,886.86

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          • serendipity says

            How Clinton managed to claim a surplus was that while the general operating budgets ran deficits but Clinton borrowed from numerous off budget funds to make the on budget fund a surplus. For example, in 2000, Clinton claimed a $230B surplus, but Clinton borrowed
            $152.3B from Social Security
            $30.9B from Civil Service Retirement Fund
            $18.5B from Federal Supplementary Medical insurance Trust Fund
            $15.0B from Federal Hospital Insurance Trust Fund
            $9.0B from the Federal Unemployment Trust Fund
            $8.2B from Military Retirement Fund
            $3.8B from Transportation Trust Funds
            $1.8B from Employee Life Insurance & Retirement fund
            $7.0B from others
            What can I say, it worked.

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    • Cdev says

      Actually both parties do. It was a product of the gang of 16 and came with the debt ceiling increase. Essentially they all own it and all neglected to do their duty to come up with something better. Honestly if I was Obama I would veto this until they fixed a few things!

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      • ALEX R says

        You think? Oh how I wish Obama would veto it. Bring it on POTUS. I dare you to veto it. Even Pelosi and Reed know better

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      • ALEX R says

        But CDEV, Jay Carney, White House Press Secretary, has said many times that the President is fully in favor of sequestration. That is until he actually got it. Carney has even said that Obama thought of the idea himself. And if that is true then I must say it was the best idea he has had.

        So we are how many months in to sequestration and we are all as well off as we were before except some airline passengers get inconvenienced. Wow, seems like the ‘end of civilization as we know it’ doom and gloom predicted by the Dem/Libs just didn’t happen. Well, just one of many times they have been wrong but now the electorate is seeing it. Obama got his tax and debt ceiling increases now it is time for the spending CUTS he promised in return. It is starting to look like a hard line on further debt ceiling increase is in the cards.

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        • Say What? says

          Please post a link showing Jay Carney saying that, I have never heard him say it. None of the politicians (except tea partiers) wanted sequestration, but it was the easiest thing for them to do. They can all say “we tried to stop it”. BS. Rep Harris owns this as much as Obama. To try and deny that is foolish and shows his true colors.

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          • Common Sense says


            Hate is a strong word.

            Is this how you demonize people who oppose an elected official’s ideology?

            Obama is at odds with conservative ideals and free markets.

            I disagree with the President.

            Now I don’t even hate you.

            Because you are just a tiresome liberal/progressive who is economically and financially illiterate.

            I do pity you however.

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          • Because says

            Common Sense. You demonstrate your denigration and vilification of anything you oppose here every time you post. Here’s my simple understanding of taxes: 1) Congress legislates them as well as spending. They bear the responsibility for being unable to balance a budget – they merely expect the executive to do what they tell him. And you can’t re-apportion monies in DoD without approval form Congress. 2) If you want to buy more things, you should probably increase your revenue. 3) If you don’t want to spend more than you take in, you should probably learn to sacrifice, like the rest of us who have to live with the sequester. 4) Just because people were unhappy with late planes because of cuts on air traffic controllers – too fricking bad. If these are the buffoons you elected than you got what you wanted.

            Thanks for the declaration of illiteracy. I consider the source..

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        • Because says

          You’re wrong. Obama is in favor sequestration as a means to get Congress to do their job and behave like adults. He said he would Veto anything that cancelled sequestration. Enough bashing of the man you clearly hate – you’ll come up with the reasons later.

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          • B says

            Sequestration occurred for one reason only…. Lack of leadership from Obama. What is best remembered from Reagan and Clinton, compromise that Obama failed to achieve.

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          • Speak Your Mind says

            What is remembered from Reagan is a republican fantasy and what is remembered from Clinton is a democratic wet dream. The reality of American leadership for 30 years is one full of slight of hand economic tricks that encourage bubble economies.

            Two ultimatums thrown at each other are not compromise.
            Sequestration occured because it needed to occur.
            If the government can’t clean up 5% in spending then we’re screwed in the future.

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          • Because says

            You really can’t compromise with pinheads. Condsider our exchanges as an example.

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      • ALEX R says

        A quote from the President’s press secretary.

        JAY CARNEY: What I will concede is that we were looking and the Republicans were looking for a trigger around which to build a mechanism to get us out of default possibility and the sequester was one of the idea put forward, yes by the president’s team.

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    • Ralph says

      Sequestration was born in the White House by Jack Lew and company, sold to Obama and the idea shopped to Reid and Boehner who both went along with the idea. After it was enacted both sides tried to use it as a campaign tool during the national elections in 2012. In reality, sequestration is not such a bad idea, but the drawback is the spending cuts are “across the board” instead of targeted.

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  4. Harford Resident says

    APG Furloughs are scheduled to start in June unless something happens like what was done with the FAA. I already hear people talking about cutting back spending on going out to lunch/dinner, and taking fewer vacations, etc. So the local Harford County economy will take a hit that’s for sure. Even worse looming on the horizon is the threat of layoffs (or “RIFs as know in the Government) next year, fiscal year 2014, at APG. So they hired all these people to move here for BRAC, and now many of the new hires are going to get laid off. Get ready, another hit to the local economy is on the way.

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    • Because says

      Now if they only had the cajones to lay off the contractors, since they were hired as temporary help anyway.

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        • Because says

          Here’s the downside. The contractors are not supposed to be providing personal services (However you wish to define that) but because of how the government believes they are cheaper (They are not) and easier to remove than a federal employee (yes, they are) many of them now occupy positions that are exclusively contractor – enabling them the dubious distinction of being irreplaceable. Because there is no corporate memory in government hands any more.

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          • Speak Your Mind says

            The idea that anyone is irreplaceable is the root cause of the ridiculous lack of accountablility in Federal employment. The contractors become irreplaceable only in as much as they are doing the work the FTE’s should already be doing.

            Hiring ‘temp’ workers to do the job of almost impossible to fire full time Federal employees is tantamount to giving Federal employees a personal assistant.

            Everyone should have to reapply for their jobs with open competition allowed including salary negotiations. Then we’d see some people hopping again. I’m fairly sure I’d be re-hired, how about you?

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      • noble says

        Depends on what you mean by contractor. I know of several people who work for companies with government contracts at APG who have been laid off already, like a month ago. The hurt is on.

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        • Speak Your Mind says

          Let the beatings begin but spare the rod for those who really need it.
          Contractors are low hanging fruit, many of them do not deserve to be cut.

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  5. Roman says

    Sequestration was actually a failure of the GOP and their lack of leadership to come up with a compromise to balance the budget!. The Obama administration took the easy way out by letting some badly crafted and passed mechanism (sequestration) to become the law of the land and cut from all programs without considering the top priorities. Cuts to all departments do not take into account fixed costs such as labor and some agencies are more labor intensive than others. The President wasn’t really given a choice to determine which programs would be cut or what priorities to keep fully operational. GOP and tea party are responsible for the circus that Congress has become. Let the chips fall where they may and let them burn. As a GOP congress person such as Harris, he needs to look in the mirror and see that he is part of the problem that programs are being cut and the budget deficit remains. I would like him to explain the APG contractors and employees that this sequestration is actually good for the county, state and nation and make an argument in which he takes some responsibility for his inaction.

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    • Ralph says

      President Obama turned down an offer to let him make the decisions on what areas to cut for the sequester. He did so because he did not want to suffer any individual political fallout for the decisions. A President who had already been reelected to his second and final term as President was afraid of political fallout. I agree, let the chips fall where they may.

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      • serendipity says

        I think he was really passing the buck to congress to see if he can get a favorable House in 2014. If he can get the public to vote democrat, he can get some of his ideas working. Its purely political.

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  6. Roman says

    Hard to trust a republican’t party who said that their primary job at the beginning of Obama’s first term was to make sure he was a one term president. Even at that the GOP failed by choosing a candidate that managed to insult 47% of the potential voters by claiming that they didn’t pay any taxes which of course is complete non-sense. The GOP is quickly becoming only relevant, so much for the progressive party that used to be. It in turn have become a party of old people, male and Caucasian for the most part, with the token Marco Rubio and Todd Cruz to mix it up a little bit. Add the radical tea party wing, the evangelicals and NRA death grip and this party is becoming the minority party and will be irrelevant once the next election comes around. 70% of all minorities, not just Hispanic, view this party as not representing them add women, disabled, elderly and the working middle class and you have a political entity that is pretty much dead. Sure, they’ll have the old money and get their share, but that share of the voters is getting smaller with every election cycle.

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  7. RTFU says

    It is all just a game to these folks, and sadly…we are all to blame. We voted them into office.

    Obama had stated that he would not allow a sequester to happen, yet here it is! For those who state that “we are just as well off” they need to open their eyes. Government workers are being furloughed at a rate that cuts their salaries a whopping 20% in some places. That only means less spending for the local economy, and eventually more trouble for the housing market when people start missing payments due to a lower salary. Combine that with the increase of the SS Tax, along with the increase in medical premiums this year (to make way for ObamaCare), this will eventually hit the economy in a negative way.

    Same holds true for all of the defense contractors having their funding slashed, and having to lay people off.

    I won’t even get into the issue with a lack of cost-of-living adjustments for both SS recipients, as well as our disabled vets. People living on a fixed income for years without an increase to adjust for the economy, as the prices go up everywhere, it simply means they will be spending less.

    Say what you want, but seems to me that our illustrious, vacationing president has the power to stop these actions and find a better way to cut spending. Sadly though, it appears that he is just letting it drizzle as the public gets more and more frustrated, and then he can step in with a long-delayed plan and state that “he fixed it”. A simple political game, with our money. Hell, Obama’s net worth has more than doubled since he took office, why not tart by saying that he will forego the $400,000 annual salary? Or, is that what he pays to his funky mouthed wife to pay for her expensive clothing habit?

    All I know is that with both Clinton and Bush, my taxes were lower, the Conley was booming, my house was worth a lot more, and gas was under $2 per gallon.

    This is regardless of political party, and regardless of our two theaters of war. Ask yourself…if we are so broke as a country, then why are we “donating” hundreds of millions of our taxpayer money to places like Mexico, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt? Makes you wonder, huh?

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  8. W.T.F.? says

    Fact: Your federal income taxes have NOT gone up under the Obama administration (unless you are single and earn over $400,000 per year or married and earn over $450,000 per year).
    Opinion: Remove the “cap” from Social Security (FICA) payroll deduction and the problem is solved!

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  9. noble says

    Political football people, nothing more.

    The sequestration, regardless of where it came from, was passed by Congress and signed by the President– as a result of all of their failure to do their jobs. This was primarily a truce to put everything off until after the election as they were both gambling they would win.

    And rather than act in the way it was designed, both sides decided to use it to blame the other for something (standard operating procedure).

    Then when it went into effect, Congress (House) tried to deflect their responsibility by allowing Obama more control and targeting of the cuts (which defeats the purpose of the sequestration in the first place) and puts him in a no-win of saying no and answering to his supporters who get cuts, or saying yes, and being accuse do of playing favorites (which would contradict his crafted “above politics” theme).

    Then when something that really matters to a lot of people, that can be put on the news and visibly understood by the people comes along, such as airport delays, Congress jumps up rides to the rescue to save the day. Forgetting the fact that they could have prevented sequestration entirely, or that they could have done this or any other correction to it at any time. Also notice there’s nobody to really argue against restoring the FAA funding, and conveniently they can now point the blame back to Obama and give him another chance to assume responsibility.

    Also notice how certain parts of the Republican party wanted the sequestration SO BAD to cut costs, and yet now they are ready to spend money again, when there is something to be gained from it. Yet we still want to blow up the budget use drastic cuts everywhere? Everywhere except the FAA I suppose. And the Pentagon. And Homeland Security. And oil subsidies… etc. etc. etc.

    None of this is about helping people, or properly governing the nation.

    It’s pathetic political squabbling with the entire process at every point designed to direct blame for manufactured crises on the other side.

    And so many of us fall for it. People in the Tea Party, you have been assimilated. Your revolution is over. All those freshman members of Congress you got voted in have been taking huge donations to stay in office and everything they do now is focused on that goal. Re-election, play ball, get committee assignments, accrue influence, rinse, repeat. Mr. Harris followed this playbook like a pro.

    Vote them all out. We have to push the reset button on our government at every election until it’s a government of and for the people again.

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    • Speak Your Mind says

      “Vote them all out. We have to push the reset button on our government at every election until it’s a government of and for the people again.”

      this x1000 for both parties

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  10. Roman says

    The Tea Party is nothing but a bunch of gutless morons who are blinded by having Obama as president. Where was the Tea Party while Bush was president? Did they object to two unfunded, off the book wars, tax refunds for everyone out of the Clinton surplus, which could have been used to pay down the debt. TARP was also created by Bush and while the tea party didn’t support the Stimulus package, the GOP representatives encouraged all their districts to apply for any tax credit, refund or advantage the Stimulus package brought and then they claimed that no jobs were created due to the spending. Within the Stimulus that was about a third tax cuts and credits, the tea party still professed that no jobs where created but all the while their mantra was that lower taxes encouraged growth and more private sector investment. These guys have no credibility and they have been exposed.

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    • Jaguar Judy says

      TARP was passed by the House led by Democratic Speaker Pelosi and the Senate led by Democrat Harry Reid. Either the House or the Senate – both Lib/Democrat controlled – could have stopped it if they were not in favor of it. And when it was passed they all linked arms and jumped in front of the cameras to take credit for it.

      As for credibility, I can’t name one politician who does have credibility starting with Obama and continuing right thru the entire legislative branch. Likewise for every cabinet member I can think of.

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