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ABC's Jon Karl Blames House GOP for FAA Shutdown, Skips Democratic Obstruction

Good Morning America's Jon Karl on Thursday placed the blame for a partial shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration on House Republicans, ignoring the role Senate Democrats have played.

4000 thousand FAA workers have been furloughed, construction projects have been stopped, but Karl complained, "What's the hold up? Republicans are insisting on cuts to a program that subsidizes flights to small rural airports."

He then played a clip of Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer attacking, "It's the issue of hostage taking. It's as if someone puts a gun to your head and says 'give me your money' and you say, 'Why won't you give them their money?'"

Democrats weren't mentioned once. The House has passed a short-term FAA funding bill through the September recess. As The Hill reported, "But Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) put a stop to those plans when he insisted on a 'clean' bill from the House, which will not return to Washington until Sept. 7."

Instead of explaining this, Karl focused on the Republican-controlled House. He narrated, "I caught up with the Republican House Transportation Secretary John Mica on the phone as he was leaving town. How can you leave town without it being resolved?"

GMA viewers might be perplexed by Mica's response. He explained, "Well, last time I checked I didn't have a vote in the U.S. Senate." This was the only time the word "Senate" was uttered in the whole segment.

In a House letter that offered more information than a confusing four second clip, Mica informed:

After 4 1/2 years and 20 previous extensions - 17 of which were passed by a Democrat-controlled Senate and House - Senate and House Democrats are now arguing that they don't like the process, but it's doubtful that complaining about the process is comforting to the families of those 4,000 furloughed FAA employees.


As Redstate.com explained, there is a component of the standoff that relates to funding of little-used airports:

The House bill cut a subsidy program to three rural airports, where the cost of subsidized flights was hopelessly uneconomical. One of those airports, White Pine County Airport in Ely, Nevada, enjoys a subsidy to the tune of $3,720 per passenger! [Read more about it here] Yet, Reid refused to relinquish his selfish pork, causing a partial shutdown of the FAA and the furloughing of 4,000 employees.


Other than a one sentence description, Karl ignored this aspect.

Over on MSNBC's, Wednesday, Martin Bashir flatly blamed the GOP for leaving workers "in the lurch."

A transcript of the August 04, 2011 segment can be found below:

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: We're going to turn now to that standoff in Washington that's having an impact on every airport in the country. For weeks, the FAA has been partially shut down because Congress couldn't agree on its budget. So, now, thousands of FAA workers aren't getting paid and thousands of others could lose their jobs and Congress has left town without solving the problem. ABC's Jon Karl is at National airport right now. Good morning, Jon.

ABC GRAPHIC: Congress Fails to Fund FAA: Thousands Unpaid: Airlines Keep Fees

JON KARL: Good morning, George. This standoff has already cost the FAA $300 million, but the only people who can fix it are now on vacation. Thanks to inaction by Congress, more than 200 airport construction projects have ground to a halt. Leaving 4,000 FAA employees and some 70,000 construction workers out of their jobs.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Everybody wants to play hard ball and hard ball hurt us.

KARL: 40 Airport safety inspectors are even being asked to work without pay and to pay their own travel expenses. Second day in a row President Obama pleaded with Congress to end the impasse.

BARACK OBAMA: So, this is a lose/lose/lose situation that can easily be solved if Congress gets back into town and does its job.

KARL: I caught up with the Republican House Transportation Secretary John Mica on the phone as he was leaving town. How can you leave town without it being resolved?

REP. JOHN MICA: Well, last time I checked I didn't have a vote in the U.S. Senate.

KARL: What's the hold up? Republicans are insisting on cuts to a program that subsidizes flights to small rural airports.

SENATOR CHUCK SCHUMER: It's the issue of hostage taking. It's as if someone puts a gun to your head and says give me your money and you say why won't you give them their money?

KARL: The Republican cut would save $16 million a year, but thanks to the standoff, the government is losing nearly $30 million a day because it is no longer collecting fees charged to each and every airline ticket. If Congress doesn't fix this until they get back September, the FAA will be out $1.3 billion. The only ones benefitting here are the airlines. Most of them are simply pocketing the money normally collected by the FAA. Now, three smaller airlines have decided not to keep the extra cash. One of those, Alaska Airlines, passing the savings on to their customers has seen their bookings increase by 26 percent since this mess began. George?


— Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter.