Sequester blame game evens out with FAA furloughs

At least on one aspect of the required federal spending cuts known as the sequester, the blame game seems to have evened out. A new Pew Research Center survey finds that congressional Republicans and the White House take equal heat for flight delays caused by the cuts.


Air traffic controllers at a Frederick, Md. tower slated to be closed due to sequestration. (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)

On Friday, Congress passed and Obama signed legislation giving the agency more flexibility to avoid air traffic controller furloughs. The poll, taken in the midst of that legislative wrangling, found 34 percent of Americans blamed Republicans and 32 percent blamed Obama. Another 10 percent blamed both.

Congressional Republicans made an issue out of the flight delays, accusing Obama of letting them happen for political reasons. While they have also tried to pin the sequester entirely on the White House, that effort never gained much traction. A February Washington Post-Pew Research Center poll found that 45 percent of Americans blamed congressional Republicans for the sequester and 32 percent blamed Obama.

But despite the attention the furloughs have received in the media, only 15 percent of Americans say they are following the story very closely. Forty percent say they aren't following it at all.

Rachel Weiner covers cops and courts in Arlington and Alexandria.
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