Coburn on FAA Furloughs: It’s Not Real, It’s Cynical and It’s Shameful

'When management tells the union people, we want you all to take your furlough the same day so we shut down the airlines in America, I would tell you, there's where your problem is'


Sen. Tom Coburn (R., Okla.) revealed he has gained access to a letter from an anonymous whistle blower inside the FAA Thursday on CNBC.

The letter accuses the federal agency of encouraging all union employees take the same furlough days in a coordinated effort to disrupt air travel:

RICK SANTELLI: Senator, it’s quite simple. You’re receiving e-mails from FAA employees attending meetings where they’ve been told to make these furloughs as hard on the public as possible. How can we have a government or a Secretary of Transportation that allows this to occur? It’s reprehensible.

TOM COBURN: Well, you know, first of all, these are great American people who work for the FAA and they know this is a game that’s being played. I agree with you. The fact is is the 2013 budget request by the Obama Administration is essentially the same level of which this post-sequester FAA budget is. So it’s all a game. And it’s the desire not to trim the size of the federal government and to hurt the American people, the American airlines, the businesses that are dependent upon it, and do it in such a cynical way, as they think the American people are going to believe this. The fact is, they’re still keeping on board to train people, even though they’re shutting down the schools. So they are going to be paying people, instructors, who have nobody to teach. But they’re not going to furlough them. They’re furloughing the controllers, and there’s 650 fewer controllers now than there [were] in 2010, they’re making a ton more. They don’t need anything new to change and fit within this sequester. It’s all dishonest.

If true, the letter would provide further evidence the Obama Administration is politically engineering sequester cuts to cause pain among the general population.

The attempted political manipulation of air traffic controller furlough days is the latest in a series of sequester cuts that have raised ire among critics as being politically motivated and unnecessary.

The Obama Administration fell under criticism in March for suspending White House tours. The Secret Service has remained steadfast in maintaining the suspension, despite the policy change netting a paltry savings of $74,000 per week.