Both the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) and the Independent Pilots Association (IPA) applauded last week’s announcement of new legislation in the U.S. Senate–S.1692, sponsored by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.)–to include cargo pilots in the new Part 117 flight and duty time regulations that take effect January 4 next year. FedEx pilots are ALPA members, while UPS pilots are represented by the IPA.
After a 10-day recess in mid-February, Congress returned to tackle a few of the pending major issues that have been subjected to heavy bipartisan views. The House passed its version of a campaign reform bill that sought to define the limitations of “hard” and “soft” money contributions. In the provisions of this bill, large, unregulated soft money donations would be banned by corporations, unions and individuals.
Congress recessed for 16 days in mid-April and when it returned, the major issues facing both houses were President Bush’s proposal for $726 billion in tax cuts, defense spending and Congressional “pork.”
• H.R.2115, the “Flight 100-Century of Aviation Revitalization Act” introduced in May by Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), was combined with S.824, the “Aviation Investment and Revitalization Act,” introduced in April by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), and approved by unanimous consent in the Senate in late November. The bill reauthorizes the Federal Aviation Administration for four years and provides $59 billion in funding.
• The House of Representatives approved appropriations for Fiscal Year 2006 for the Department of Transportation. The House bill allocates to the FAA $14.4 billion for operations, $3.6 billion for the Airport Improvement Program, $25 million to hire some 600 new air traffic controllers and $8 million to add more safety inspectors in the aircraft certification and flight standards offices.