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While the urgency of the situation did not permit the regular order to operate, the simple solution of drawing on uncommitted balances from the airport improvement program to pay the salaries of furloughed air traffic controllers kept the bill simple and sound, all without endangering vital infrastructure (as some erroneously charged it did).
Can you imagine the public uproar and economic dislocation if Congress had not acted before it adjourned?
Congress’ prompt action was a credit to its ability to overcome gridlock and act in an overwhelmingly bipartisan manner to address a serious national problem — albeit one of its own making. Shame on those who deride Congress for doing the right thing.
Don Wolfensberger is a resident scholar at the Bipartisan Policy Center, a senior scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center and former staff director of the House Rules Committee.