The 13-day shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration finally came to an end today, which will allow thousands of furloughed federal employees and tens of thousands of construction workers to get back on the job on Monday. House Republicans refused to reauthorize the FAA without including an anti-union provision that would make it harder for workers at airlines and railroads to unionize (a measure sought desperately by, among others, Delta Airlines). Airline inspectors were forced to work without pay during the shutdown.
House Transportation Committee John Mica (R-FL) has been at the forefront of the FAA debacle, advancing the GOP’s anti-union demands (on behalf of his biggest donors) and then adding cuts in subsidies to rural airports to the FAA bill that he admitted were only meant to tweak Democratic senators. But while he’s been more than willing to hold thousands of jobs hostage, Mica evidently can’t handle a little criticism about his role in the matter, as he whined to the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank about having a “brutal week.” “People don’t have to be so personal,” he added:
“I’ve had a brutal week, getting beat up by everybody,” Mica told me, minutes after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced a deal that would end the shutdown and avoid the cuts to regional air service that Mica wanted.
“I didn’t know it would cause this much consternation,” Mica said. “Now I’ve just got to get the broom and the shovel and clean up the mess.” Switching metaphors, he said he wanted “to unclog the toilet, but it backed up. So I don’t know what to do, what to say.” [...]
“People don’t have to get so personal,” he said with a sigh. “A lot of people hate me now and think I’m the worst thing in the world for what I did.” It’s “this sort of gotcha,” he said, “that’s changed the dynamics of people working more effectively together.”
I think the 4,000 FAA employees and 70,000 construction workers who were put out of work this week — and who may not receive back pay — actually had a rougher week than Mica. While he seemed to express “remorse” about the shutdown when speaking to Milbank, Mica today seemed to threaten shutting down the FAA again if Senate Democrats are unwilling to go along with his demands.