Steve wrote here about the budget standoff over the Federal Aviation Administration. For some reason, the FAA has subsisted for some years on a series of short-term funding authorizations. The Republican House passed a bill that funded the FAA, but cut wasteful subsidies for 13 small-town airports. The Senate refused to accept the House bill, and the result was a brief, partial shutdown of FAA activities that was invisible to air travelers. Steve’s take on these events was optimistic:
What this really reveals is a sign of the Democrats increasing panic and desperation, and the fact that Republicans are now positioned for prolonged trench warfare to cut spending, one program and subsidy at a time. Democrats will fight to the death for every spending program, and will attempt to exact maximum attention and pain for Republicans for each one.
Eventually, the Senate Democrats capitulated, gracelessly, and passed the House bill. The Associated Press covered the events with a story that read like a Democratic National Committee press release, starting with the headline: “Senate Dems give way to GOP to end FAA shutdown.” Here is the AP’s lede:
With tens of thousands of jobs, more than $1 billion and their reputations on the line, Senate Democrats gave way Friday to a power play by House Republicans in order to end a partial two-week shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration.
“Gave way to a power play?” Every time the slightest cut is made in spending, is that a “power play?” How about if spending is increased? Is that a “power play” too?
The AP is careful to assure its readers that the Democrats weren’t just trying to protect a little pork. No, it was a matter of principle:
Democrats had been holding firm against the House legislation on FAA operations because it proposed cutting air service subsidies to 13 rural communities. In short, they feared getting steamrolled on similar legislation in the future if they gave Republicans their way.
This is the kind of fatuous, one-sided press coverage we can expect for years to come if the Republicans hold firm in their intention to get federal spending under control.