Facts about FAA partial shutdown from John Mica, Chairman House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee

by Charlie Leocha on July 29, 2011


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

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  • D978

    Why won’t the House allow a vote of the Senate version? Why is MIca trying to change the NLRB regulations/rules? Sounds like he is the one playing games and inserting Labor related provisions as tens of thousands of Americans are layed off as the FAA issues stop work orders on critical airport and safety related projects.

  • http://www.tripso.com/author/leocha Charlie Leocha

    The Labor issue though sure to be a problem with the final passage of the FAA bill, is not involved at all in this failure of the FAA extension to go through. The only issue holding up the extension is the beef over essential air services and subsidies to regional airports.

  • no one

    Mica,  haven’t you gotten back at John Carr enough yet man.  Give it a rest.

  • Doug Wicker

    Not even a nice try at changing the facts, Chairman Mica.  By your own
    public statements, the EAS is merely cover for something else entirely,
    and you know it.  The EAS costs $14 million annually, yet this FAA
    expiration is costing approximately $30 million a day in lost tax
    revenue . . . revenue that the airlines are keeping—the same airlines
    that collectively gave your reelection campaign $620,000 in 2010.  That
    means that only 14 hours of tax revenues would have covered an entire
    year’s worth of EAS funding, yet your reticence in doing your job and
    your advocacy for the airlines has already cost the FAA almost $200
    million in lost revenue.  How fiscally responsible is THAT, Chairman
    Mica?

    Let’s be honest with the folks here.  This is really all about
    intervening against an NLRB ruling that granted to airline employees a
    level playing field in determining by vote whether or not they want to
    unionize.  Before that NLRB ruling, uncast ballots counted as “no”
    votes.  After that ruling, only ballots cast are counted.  That’s called
    “democracy,” so why don’t you explain to everyone here why democracy is
    okay when you’re running for reelection, but is somehow evil when it’s
    applied to a union vote?

    If those who choose not to exercise their right to vote during elections
    were counted as “no” votes, you and the vast majority of your
    colleagues wouldn’t be in office right now, and upwards of 90,000
    child-raising, mortgage-paying Americans wouldn’t have been thrown out
    of work at the stroke of midnight last Friday.

    And finally, if you no longer believe in the democratic principles under
    which YOU have to run for reelection every two years, then why don’t
    YOU resign and turn over the reigns of the House Committee on
    Transportation and Infrastructure to somebody more fiscally responsible,
    more concerned with the 90,000 people you just threw under the bus, and
    less concerned with giving the airlines a windfall profit through a tax
    holiday?

    Why don’t we try a little honesty here rather than a smokescreen for what’s really going on here, eh, Chairman Mica?

  • Man of Reason

    John Mica is the epitome of what is wrong with Congress, as long as men like him and McCain are calling the shots the average man will continue to suffer while their coffers are continually filled by the Lockheed Martins of the world. Pretty depressing future for Average Joe while these idiots continue to have power.

  • none

    Dude, can you stop with the shilling for the GOP?

    Yes, the FAA auth bill should get passed.  But you are extremely one-sided in your posts about this.

  • A disgusted voter

    $1.2 billion dollars for Sun Rail…which will serve 2150 people a day…and which does NOT serve DisneyWorld or the Orlando Airport.

    Who proposed it? Who supports it while demanding other such programs be killed nationwide? Who keeps this gravy train rolling?

    John Mica

    EAS costs 14 million a year…or less than 1/85th of the “investment” in Sun Rail. Who is the hypocrite now, Mr. Mica

  • Jibbjib

    Poopy pants, Mica.

  • Jibbjib

    Poopy pants, Mica.

  • SAUCY LODA

    I am curious about the attacks being made on Rep. Mica for allegedly incorrect facts. Could someone indicate point by point which of his assertions are wrong?

    As I look at Rep Mica’s assertions, and review the assertions in the comments, my conclusion is that the commenters are mostly those that see no problem with the ridiculous subsidies for so-called “essential air service.”

    It would appear that uncontrolled federal spending (like this one example) will eventually stop one way or the other.

  • Doug Wicker

    If you believe that Mica’s throwing upwards of 90,000 people has anything to do with ending EAS at thirteen airports and saving the government money, then you’re not paying attention to the comments he and other Republicans have been making reference the real reasons:

    “The House Republicans freely admit that this is simply an effort to
    leverage one issue (EAS subsidies) to hijack the legislative process and
    gain the upper hand on negotiating an anti-labor provision.”

    And as previously pointed out:

    1)  the EAS subsidies for these thirteen airports would have been covered for a full year with only fourteen hours’ worth of the taxes he allowed to lapse

    2)  that the FAA will have lost something in the neighborhood of a quarter BILLION dollars at the end of today’s shutdown.  A quarter billion lost to save $14 million.  Do the math on that and you’ll find the revenue lost just to date would have covered for that service for the next 17+ years!

    3)  Chairman Mica is being hypocritical in the extreme using EAS as a cover for what is actually and blatantly about overturning an NLRB ruling on union elections, because Chairman Mica himself has advocated, pushed for, and gotten $1.2 billion dollars in federal subsidies for SunRail, a commuter train that will travel only 61 miles and serve a mere estimated 2,150 passengers a day tops (do the math on that as well)

    This shutdown has cost the government far more than anything “saved” if EAS is shutdown at the thirteen targeted airports, so this has nothing to do with being fiscally responsible.  It’s about paying back a very large, very powerful campaign contributor—Delta Airlines—which desperately wants this NLRB ruling overturned because, if this ruling were in effect during the last two union votes at Delta, Delta’s flight attendants and baggage handlers would have prevailed in their efforts to unionize.

    And it doesn’t hurt either that some of the tax revenue the FAA is losing is going directly into Delta’s coffers in the form of extra revenue, because Delta also happens to be one of the many airlines that raised fares just high enough to keep the saved tax revenues for themselves rather than pass along the savings to their customers.  So, the airlines that collectively gave Chairman Mica’s reelection campaign $620,000 in 2010 have more than recouped that “investment” in him, because collectively they’re experiencing a windfall amounting to tens of millions of dollars every day this shutdown continues.

    Thus, those EAS subsidies pale in comparison to the amount of tax revenues Chairman Mica just gifted to the airlines, and are far less than the amounts he has hypocritically snagged for his district with the great SunRail ripoff.

    If you truly are outraged, “. . . with the ridiculous subsidies for so-called ‘essential air service,’” may I respectfully request that you redirect some of that anger toward a Congressional Committee Chairman who has and still is wasting far, far more of your limited federal resources on pork projects in his home district and sending tax revenues directly to the airlines that contributed to his campaign committee.  To put it bluntly, costing the federal government hundreds of millions and throwing 90,000 people out of work just to “save” $14 million in EAS subsidies to thirteen airports is a prime example of fixating on one bush to the exclusion of realizing there’s an entire forest around you.

  • The Consumerist

    It seems that the union goons/shills are out in force here.
    I must check ListServe to see what the marching orders are from the Demoncrats.
     
    Using tax dollars collecting from the hard working people of this country to give pork to the unions is what this is about.
     
    Harry Reid can give money to keep open an airport that would surly fail if left to compete in the open market.
    In return he expects votes to keep him in office.
     
    Smells like a bribe to me…

  • Doug Wicker

    “Union goons/shills.”  Funny how you ignore the facts given reference your man Chairman Mica, the tax dollars he’s personally wasting with this shutdown, the wasteful pork project cited for his own district, and instead immediately resort to childish name-calling to “make your point,” which is no point at all since it didn’t address anything.

    Yeah . . . like I’m going to take THAT seriously.  I certainly won’t be taking seriously any subsequent posts you make.

  • http://www.tripso.com/author/leocha Charlie Leocha

    Doug,
    I don’t really understand your rant, though I hear it over and over again. As I said, both sides can claim credit for this hiccup in the FAA funding and taxation. Though you focus on Mica and his pork, Rockefeller has his own issues and “pork” and could solve this problem in a second by accepting the House language that is almost word for word what the Senate has already passed in their version of the FAA bill.

    Obviously something else is going on here. I’m not at a high enough pay grade to understand what each of them hope to prove by their obstinance. I only know that taxpayers and workers are getting the brown end of the stick and the airline executives are looking fat and happy and richer.

  • Doug Wicker

    Oh, and those 90,000 people Chairman Mica threw out of work?  They pay taxes as well . . . or at least they did up until they just got pointed to the unemployment compensation line.  Like THAT’S a huge savings for the taxpayer.

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