As I noted in my article about the current FAA bill extension, or rather the lack of such an extension, the U.S. government is losing almost $30 million a day because Sen. Rockerfeller’s is upset with the process that the House of Representatives used in adding some minor changes to the Essential Air Service law.

Today the Chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee went on the floor of the Senate to defend his actions and insist that the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee come back to him with a “clean” FAA bill extension.

Here is Rep. John Mica’s response issued just before 5 p.m. this afternoon.

Dear Colleague:

Let me share with you some of the facts concerning the current partial shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA):

FACT: Six days after the FAA shutdown, Senate Democrat leaders continue to block a vote on a bipartisan-passed House FAA extension and have failed three times in the last week to pass their own extension.

FACT: Senate leaders have chosen to protect political pork and outrageous subsidies of nearly $4,000 per ticket on the backs of 4,000 furloughed FAA employees.

FACT: The House extension contains Senate-passed language reforming the Essential Air Service (EAS) Program, including cutting any ticket subsidies in excess of $1,000 per ticket, which affects only 3 airports.

FACT: Airline service for Ely, Nevada is subsidized an incredible $3,720 per ticket.

FACT: Every ticket subsidy eliminated by the House-passed extension is also eliminated by the Senate’s long-term FAA bill, which it approved in February (see sections 420 and 421 of Senate bill S. 223).

FACT: Section 420 of the Senate’s long-term FAA bill eliminates subsidies at 10 airports that are 90 miles or closer to another large or medium hub airport. The House-extension eliminates the same 10 subsidies.

FACT: Section 421 of the Senate’s long-term FAA bill eliminates subsidies at additional airports, including the same 3 airports eliminated by the House-passed extension’s $1,000 subsidy cap.

FACT: The House-passed extension reforms of EAS are even more limited than those contained in the Senate’s own long-term FAA bill.

FACT: Senate leaders are now refusing to bring up this simple extension and vote on these modest taxpayer savings it already approved in February.

FACT: Senate Democrats are also arguing that the House-passed extension is about a labor provision, but the fact is there is no labor provision in the extension.

FACT: The Senate has chosen to complain about the legislative process and its supposed need for a “clean” extension, rather than taking up the House-passed extension which would immediately end the FAA shutdown and put people back to work.

FACT: After 4 ½ years and 20 previous extensions – 17 of which were passed by a Democrat-controlled Senate and House – Senate and House Democrats are now arguing that they don’t like the process, but it’s doubtful that complaining about the process is comforting to the families of those 4,000 furloughed FAA employees.

FACT: One of the previous FAA extensions, passed in 2010 under House and Senate Democrat leadership, included numerous policy provisions – in fact, an entire aviation safety bill.

FACT: Chairman Mica and House leaders are determined to stop the endless series of short, stopgap FAA extensions since the expiration of the previous FAA law in 2007. They are not willing to continue this irresponsible and short-sighted approach to aviation policy at the expense of completing negotiations on a much needed long-term FAA law.

FACT: The FAA partial shutdown depletes the Airport and Airway Trust Fund by nearly $30 million per day.

FACT: There is a simple way forward. The Senate should take up and pass the House FAA extension and send it to the President for his signature. Then hardworking people can get back to work and the House and the Senate can resume negotiations on the long-term FAA reauthorization bill.

FACT: Chairman Mica has worked with Chairman Rockefeller and other Members of Congress to pass a responsible and long-overdue FAA reauthorization, and urges the successful and cooperative completion of that important responsibility.

If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact Aviation Subcommittee staff at 226-3220.

Sincerely,

John. L. Mica
Chairman
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure