Shutdown, Week 2: Plenty Of Blame To Go Around

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A week into the partial government shutdown, those in aviation looking to direct blame for the carefully orchestrated fiasco's ramifications are staring at a bipartisan target.
 
As Aviation Week head scribe Joe Anselmo noted in this space last week, there's no debating which side instigated the fight. A week into the partial paralysis, evidence is mounting that the other side is carefully selecting which targets are hit--and how hard.
 
FAA's aircraft registry remained closed late Wednesday, despite protests from a who's who of U.S. aircraft operations-centric associations not named Airlines For America. 
 
While the associations took their public appeal to the DOT Secretary's office, industry sources privately acknowledge that the only office with the power to open FAA's registry during the shutdown has the initials O-M-B.
 
It's tough to argue that keeping the registry open is "necessary to protect life and property"--at least in the strictest sense. It's equally tough to argue that the unprecedented act of shuttering it makes any sense--unless one factors in the current administration's views of the industry, and general aviation in particular.
 
Even when logic prevails, leadership isn't making things easy. 
 
Keeping aviation safety inspectors (ASI) home--another unprecedented move--was an even clearer display of politics over practicality than shuttering the registry. ASIs are slowly being called back, but Aviation Week understands that each recalled inspector must fill out an OMB form explaining why his role is essential and merits excepted status.
 
Politics is often messy and usually tough to comprehend.
 
But should the flow of donations from aviation interests to Democrats slow dramatically in the near future, few should have trouble deciphering why.

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