TODAY   |  April 27, 2013

Congress passes fix for FAA furlough

Air travel is getting back on track after a tough week that saw major delays nationwide. “The economy suffers when our air system has trouble,” said Mark Halperin, MSNBC’s senior political analyst. The president signed a bill that puts thousands of air controllers back to work, but the country is still struggling with the budget cuts, also known as the sequester. TODAY’s Erica Hill interviews Mark Halperin.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> if you have been hit by the flight delays you've heard so much about this week, the ones caused by the sequester budget cuts, there is some relief in sight. the house passed a bill friday that essentially puts thousands of air traffic controllers back to work and president obama is expected to sign it. with that quick fix now in place, plenty of people around the country are asking whether an easy solution can be found for other programs hit hard by the sequester. mark halperin , you laughed a little bit when i asked whether there could be a speedy solution to everything else related to the sequester. is that a no? make it a short segment. no. solving this is important not just because congress is inconvenienced and people like me who travel for business but the economy suffers when our air system has trouble. we have two big problems now. one is people are being hurt, not just air travelers whose problems are now solved, but kids in head start , other programs. and then the big problem is the economy. these cuts are hurting the economy. the air cuts would hurt if not fixed but others will hurt as well.

>> the reason we saw such a quick fix, as you pointed out and senator joe manchin pointed out, it hurt lawmakers directly because they want to get home this weekend. it is very visible. it also hit people who have more money to spend. for programs like head start where it is not as visible, what is it going to take to get it fixed?

>> the economy is a problem. individuals being hurt is a problem. washington still doesn't have a solution. we're not having the big national debate we need to have. lots of fighting about how to fix this. but we have big disagreements. the president wants to deal with the sequester cuts one way. the public wants to deal with it another way. the question is how do we pay for the things the country needs? we're not there yet. that's why the other things aren't going to be solved any time soon obviously a little bit of a change, and finger pointing going on as always in washington but the february said in february, look. i'm not going to change this. this is what you voted in. we're not going to change what's in the sequester. and yet now he is saying he will sign this bill.

>> this is setting us back in some ways. a lot of liberals are saying the president caved and gave in. he didn't demand there be new revenue in order to fix one program. republicans are saying, look. we could fix this by shifting money around. let's fix everything else. we need the big deal . the problem with the settling of the small deal is i think it makes both sides kind of dig in and it doesn't solve the problem. we need a big deal , not solving these individual ones.

>> it makes it worse. a lot of times we talk about whether public pressure can have an impact. a little came into play with the faa. could public pressure finally do something in washington ? the public isn't very happy.

>> again, the public is not happy, but this air travel thing hit in a big, visible way. the cuts for children's programs, for the elderly, the military, the problem with the sequester for public pressure is it kicks in slowly. it's like that proverbial frog putting in some slowly boiling water. before anybody realizes how big a problem is it's going to have a big hit on individuals in the economy.

>> really quickly what do we then start to feel or see next?

>> we're seeing a slowdown in the economy, programs being hurt. they're just not programs that are as visible. you can't send a camera crew and have the same impact as the faa cuts. so we need a big deal . this incident over travel will rather than being an example to solve it may set us back.

>> great. mark, nice to see you.

>> happy saturday.

>> there you go. thanks.