Moving with striking speed and overwhelming bipartisanship, Congress on Friday ordered President Obama to cancel the furloughs of air traffic controllers, making the second big dent in the budget sequesters.
Congress approved a bill ordering the Transportation Department to move money to the Federal Aviation Administration in order to put air traffic controllers back on the job — and requiring Mr. Obama’s team to make cuts elsewhere in the department.
“I think we all agree the FAA and the administration has handled the sequester poorly,” said Rep. Tom Latham, Iowa Republican. “The administration has played shameful politics with sequestration at the expense of hardworking families.”
The bill passed the House 361-41, and the Senate had already pre-approved the bill unanimously late Thursday night.
It now goes to Mr. Obama, who signaled he will sign it — though the White House was not happy about it.
“It is a band-aid solution. It does not solve the bigger problem,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said.
He said this was a one-time exception and the president wouldn’t entertain other specific carve-outs from the sequesters.
Previously, the president had rejected efforts to give him flexibility to move money around, saying that he didn’t want to pick-and-choose between programs and instead wanted to see taxes raised to cover the costs of the programs.