As Federal Aviation Administration officials announced that airline furloughs are now suspended and normal air operations should resume by Sunday evening, President Barack Obama and Republicans pointed fingers over the federal budget showdown that led to deep spending cuts.
In his weekly address, the president chastised Republicans for reversing across-the-board cuts that affected the flying public, but doing nothing about cuts affecting education and programs for senior citizens.
"This week, the sequester hurt travelers, who were stuck for hours in airports and on planes and are rightly frustrated by it," Obama said. "And maybe because they fly home each weekend, the members of Congress who insisted on these cuts finally realized that they actually apply to them, too."
Obama said the measure that was passed on Friday to end air traffic control furloughs was only a "Band-Aid" solution, and that Congress has to find smarter ways of cutting spending overall, which cause considerable suffering.
GOP officials said the furloughs were a ploy by Obama and Democrats.
"There are some in the Obama administration who thought inflicting pain on the public would give the president more leverage to avoid making necessary spending cuts and to impose more tax hikes on the American people. So rather than fix the problem immediately, the Obama administration spent days claiming its hands were tied when just the opposite was true," said Rep. Bill Shuster of Pennsylvania, a Republican.
Thousands of flights, including many out of local airports, were delayed by the imposed furloughs.