You’ve probably never heard of Rep. John Mica (R-FL), but he’s someone every American should know about because if he gets his way, thousands of people in your home state will lose their jobs in the next year. There’s even a good chance some already have.
Here’s the rundown.
WHO: Rep. John Mica (R-FL), Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, the committee that oversees the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and which is responsible for writing the bills that fund transportation and infrastructure projects across the country (often simply referred to as the “highway bill” even though it funds much more than just highways).
WHAT: Going out of his way to kill American jobs in all 50 states at a time when we already have 9.2 percent unemployment (unemployment is a staggering 16.3 percent in the construction industry).
- Shutting down the FAA: The FAA has been operating under temporary bills since 2007 and it partially shut down a week ago last Friday because the House GOP refused to back down from an anti-worker provision that would make it harder to unionize airlines.
Delta Airlines, the only non-union major carrier, happens to be in the midst of a pitched battle against attempts to unionize it. FedEx is also involved in a related battle on Capitol Hill as it also attempts to fend off unionization. The air transport industry, for its part, also happens to be Mica’s single largest campaign contributor, having given him $642,993 over the course of his career.
After sending Mica’s poison pill bill for a temporary extension of the FAA’s authority over to the Senate, the House simply left town this Tuesday for a month-long vacation. Even conservative Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) called the House’s actions “not honorable.” Mica’s jobs be damned political gamesmanship now all but guarantees that the FAA will remain shut down until at least Labor Day.
Since the FAA can’t collect taxes while it is shut down, airlines are enjoying a billion-dollar windfall by keeping ticket prices the same and simply pocketing the cash they’d otherwise have to turn over to the FAA. The price, however, for workers and the economy is even steeper:
- 4,000 FAA workers furloughed
- 70,000 construction workers laid off
- $2.5 BILLION in construction projects idled
- More jobs lost in other industries as orders for steel, concrete, and asphalt are canceled or delayed
- $1.3 BILLION in potential lost government revenue (As of 5 p.m. today, the shutdown has already resulted $331 MILLION in lost revenue)
- Safety inspectors working without pay — while also being asked to put work expenses on their personal credit cards
- Slashing Transportation Funding: Our transportation infrastructure is crumbling, even as countries like China spend hundreds of billions of dollars in sleek, new high-speed trains and airports.
John Mica’s solution: slash transportation funding, even though our current infrastructure spending as a percentage of GDP (2 percent) is already at half what it was in 1960 and less than one-quarter of what China spends today (9 percent). If Mica’s misguided transportation plan were to be implemented, it would be an economic disaster and throw hundreds of thousands of Americans out of work.
Some key facts about the Mica transportation plan:
- 490,627 jobs would be lost under the House GOP plan Mica is drawing up, with each state potentially losing thousands or even tens of thousands jobs.
- Mica’s plan sets funding at a level that is both below this year’s seriously inadequate level and more than one-third less than the annual funding levels laid out in the last big transportation bill passed under President Bush in 2005. Put simply, less funding means fewer jobs.
- Even the right-wing U.S. Chamber of Commerce attacked Mica’s plan, writing:
Cuts will destroy – rather than support — existing jobs and will not enable creation of the additional jobs needed to put the 16.3% of unemployed workers in the construction industry back to work.
IN ONE SENTENCE: John Mica’s plans to kill more than half a million American jobs are proof that the GOP cares far more about its own extreme ideology than about American jobs or making the investments we need to keep America great.
Anyone outraged yet? “If you aren't completely appalled then you haven't been paying attention!”