RAA senior vice president for government affairs Faye Malarkey Black concedes she might have let some Washington cynicism and weariness over a budget battle that has been going on since 2007 color her judgment during last year’s RAA fall meeting, when she predicted that an FAA reauthorization bill would not pass this year.
110th United States Congress
The National Air Transportation Association (NATA) is concerned with the “broad framework” of the American Power Act, a bill introduced earlier this month by Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, and Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
• Normal Congressional activities came to a screeching halt in late September and early October as the legislature turned its attention to deciding what to do about the nation’s financial crisis. A lot of midnight oil was burned by a host of instant money experts. First the House rejected a $700 billion bill, then the Senate worked out a compromise, passed that bill and sent it on to the House, where it was accepted and passed.
• When the dog days of August arrived, Congress adjourned for five weeks, leaving a number of major bills hanging fire. Among them were legislation aimed at resolving energy problems. After the House voted to adjourn, a group of feisty Republicans stayed on the floor–no microphones and dimmed lights–and demanded that Democratic leaders come back and take action on energy legislation. Democrats declined.
When Congress perceives public or political demands to do something, the House and Senate can act with uncharacteristic speed. For example, take the legislation that would curb and curtail corporate conniving and chicanery that raced through legislative processes, was passed by both houses and handed for signature by President Bush in near record time. If only some desirable aviation bills had the same priority.
The chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and the chairs of the six T&I subcommittees outlined what they term an “ambitious” program of hearings and legislation for the second half of the 110th Congress.
• At press time, appropriations for the 12 government agencies were still in the holding pattern. As of the middle of last month it seemed unlikely that new bills would be approved by November 16, the last day of a Continuing Resolution that allowed agencies to continue doing business at the same spending level as last year.
• As anticipated, President Bush vetoed the $124 billion bill for funding military operations. The bill would have required the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq as early as next month. And, also as anticipated, the House, by a vote of 222 to 203, failed to override the veto. White House aides and lawmakers were to hammer out a new bill that would be acceptable to the President and have it ready before Congress takes its Memorial Day break.
• At the end of March, lawmakers took a spring break that ended in mid-April, leaving in a holding pattern approval of House and Senate supplemental emergency spending bills totaling $124 billion for the Iraq war. On their return, they
• Congress took a three-week break on November 16 to allow lawmakers to ponder the results of the election. On December 5 lame-duck lawmakers limped back into session but ran like race horses on the way to the finish line and ended the business of the 109th Congress four days later.
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