Not The Way To Operate On “Final Approach”


  Bookmark and Share

Not The Way To Operate On “Final Approach”

By Bill Goldston

August 7, 2011 - On Friday the Senate reached a breakthrough on FAA extension, this means that tens of thousands of workers can go back to their jobs. “I am thrilled this morning that the Senate has approved an FAA bill. It is a tremendous victory for American workers everywhere” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood.  

“I'm thrilled for our dedicated FAA employees who will be able to go back to work on Monday. And I'm thrilled for the tens of thousands of hardworking workers who can go back to airport construction sites around the country. As a matter of fairness, we will also do everything we can to get Congress to provide our furloughed employees with the back pay they deserve”.  

The FAA Shutdown Points to Bigger Problem, while the nation and the news media had largely focused on the debt talks the GOP has demonstrated how far they were willing to go if their demands were not met, they’ve were willing to crash the Federal Aviation Administration.

When its authority to collect revenue from airport taxes expired at midnight on July 22, the FAA laid off more than 3,500 federal workers, although Air traffic controllers remained on the job, but the agency had stopped work on vital airport construction projects, including installation of new runway lights and construction of new control towers. More than 86,000 construction workers had been going without paychecks, but taxpayers did not save any money. The costs of delays – cancelled contracts, equipment rental -- added to the final bill (and to the federal deficit).  

How did this happen? Republicans object to a rule issued earlier this year by the National Mediation Board (NMB), which supervises labor relations in the transportation sector. Workers at railways and airlines can now vote to unionize by a simple majority; previously, any worker who didn’t return a ballot was counted as a “no” vote. House Transportation Chair John Mica (R-FL) and GOP members of his committee – prodded by Delta Airlines -- are insisting the rule be overturned, or they won’t re-authorize funding for the FAA.  

Sen. Jay Rockefeller, who heads the Transportation Committee in the Senate, didn’t agree. Neither did President Obama, who has stated he will veto any bill that overrules the NMB’s even-handed reforms. If Mica and House Republicans couldn’t have their way, they would not appropriate a penny for the FAA. Even if it meant taking revenue away from hundreds of construction companies, throwing thousands of people out of work, and stalling vital efforts to modernize our airports.


Sound familiar? It’s the same flight path Republicans in Congress took to raise the nation’s debt ceiling – a routine measure that passed 18 times during the Reagan Administration and seven times during the Clinton Administration. It’s hard to remember now, but there was a time—dating back to Alexander Hamilton-- when honoring our nation’s debts was viewed as a solemn responsibility, regardless of party or partisan advantage. There was also a time – in 2001 – when the U.S. government had a $128 billion budget surplus. Since then, the Republican program of irresponsible tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans has drained the U.S. Treasury. Boehner, Cantor and McConnell are insisting on more of the same.  

They demanded drastic cuts to childhood nutrition programs, education, Social Security and Medicare. They refuse to raise a penny more in revenue from taxes on closing loopholes for oil companies, or by letting the Bush tax cuts for millionaires expire – they refuse to even tax hedge fund managers at the same rate as other millionaires.  If their demands were are not met, they were willing to risk chaos in global financial markets, throw millions more people out of work, and damage the long-term credit rating of the United States.

The hard work of compromise appears to be a lost art in Washington – but it’s the work that needs to be done to keep people employed, our planes flying, our airports safe, and our fiscal house in order. On final approach you don’t want to behave erratically– you need steady hands at the controls.

Other News Stories (For the latest news please checkout our home page)


Home Aviation News Aviation Stories Of Interest FAA Exam Upcoming Events Links To Other Sites General Aviation Helicopters Medical Factors Facing Pilots
Maintenance and Aircraft Mechanics Hot Air Balloon Aviation Training Handbooks Read Online Aviation History Legal Issues In Aviation Sea Planes Editorials
 ©AvStop Online Magazine                                                                 Contact Us                                                  Return To News                                          Bookmark and Share


AvStop Aviation News and Resource Online Magazine

Grab this Headline Animator