Cantor To GOP: Dems Caved In Sequestration Battle

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In advance of Friday’s vote on a bill to ameliorate sequester-induced airport delays, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) sought to sell Republican members on the legislation by describing it as a total surrender by the White House and Democrats.

It succeeded. The chamber voted 361-41 to pass it, giving the Federal Aviation Administration flexibility to shift resources in order to mitigate airport delays. The bill, having already cleared the Senate, will go to President Obama’s desk for his signature.Cantor’s memo Friday morning, passed along to TPM by a leadership source, cited headlines about Democrats “blink[ing]” first in the FAA delays battle and the White House “scrambl[ing] for damage control.” It also quoted a tweet by Roll Call reporter Steven Dennis calling the legislation “a complete, utter cave by Senate Democrats and, if signed, by the White House.”

“This victory is in large part a result of our standing together under the banner of #Obamaflightdelays,” Cantor said.

The vote is a win for Republicans, who have insisted on mitigating the worst impacts of the sequester without raising so much as a penny in new tax revenues, which Obama and Democratic leaders have insisted on in any deal to ease the pain of the automatic cuts.

The relevant portion of Cantor’s memo:

As a CQ / Roll Call reporter tweeted last night, “Make no mistake, this FAA fix is a complete, utter cave by Senate Democrats and, if signed, by the White House.” This is a sentiment expressed in other press reports over the last 12 hours, including, Politico: “Democrats blink first on aviation” and Chicago Tribune: “White House Scrambles For Damage Control.”

Consider that the Democrats opening position was they would only replace the sequester with tax increases. By the first of this week Senator Reid proposed replacing the whole sequester with phony war savings. And by last night, Senate Democrats were adopting our targeted “cut this, not that” approach. This victory is in large part a result of our standing together under the banner of #Obamaflightdelays.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sahil Kapur is TPM's senior congressional reporter and Supreme Court correspondent. His articles have been published in the Huffington Post, The Guardian and The New Republic. Email him at sahil@talkingpointsmemo.com and follow him on Twitter at @sahilkapur.
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