National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) chairwoman Deborah Hersman announced Tuesday that she will depart the agency next month after nearly a decade of service. She was appointed to the board in 2004 by President George W. Bush and was named as chair by President Obama in 2009, serving as the agency’s face during many press conferences and hearings. She leaves to join the Illinois-based advocacy group National Safety Council, as president and CEO. Christopher Hart, currently NTSB vice chairman, will take over as acting chairman.
Presidency of Barack Obama
Even though general aviation is gearing up once again to defeat user fees, it has become increasingly apparent that Congress is unlikely to accomplish much of anything in the way of meaningful legislation before 2014 arrives. Many believe that Washington could be mostly done making laws for the year.
According to Politico, a daily newspaper that covers national politics and is distributed free on Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., and in Manhattan, top sources in both chambers were doubtful that the final eight weeks of this year would produce any legislative breakthroughs.
The effects of the U.S. government budget cuts that started on March 1 will not likely be felt until April but they could be significant for airlines and their passengers. The Federal Aviation Administration, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency will absorb the mandated spending cuts known as the “sequester” in part by furloughing employees, or requiring them to take several days of unpaid leave.
When then President-elect Barack Obama named retiring Republican congressman Ray LaHood (R-Ill.) to become his first secretary of transportation on Dec. 19, 2008, it raised more than a few eyebrows on both sides of the legislative aisle. But political blood proved thicker than water.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced to DOT employees this morning that he will not be staying on for a second term. The former seven-term Congressman was the lone Republican in President Obama’s first Cabinet. During his four years as DOT secretary, LaHood was Obama’s point man for increased infrastructure spending to help heal the economy. He said he will stay on until his successor is confirmed.
Washington, D.C., seems to be a city that is in perpetual crisis. Now the U.S. government is in conniptions over the “fiscal cliff.” Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke coined that metaphor to describe the tax increases and automatic spending cuts that kick in on January 2 unless Democrats and Republicans somehow tame the $16 trillion national debt.
The divided U.S. government edged closer to the so-called the “fiscal cliff,” a combination of tax increases and automatic spending cuts that will be imposed on January 2 unless political parties reach agreement on a package to reduce the country’s $16 trillion national debt. With 25 days remaining before the measures take effect, the parties were at a stalemate.
If automatic federal budget cuts known as “sequestration” take effect in January, the Obama Administration and the FAA could ramp up efforts to impose aviation user fees to plug the gap, NBAA fears. Under sequestration, the FAA budget could be cut by $1 billion annually, according to an Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) study released on Monday.
When President Obama signed the four-year FAA reauthorization bill on February 14, he put an end to more than four years of foot-dragging and often contentious debate, along with a record 23 short-term extensions of the FAA’s operating authorization and ability to levy and collect aviation excise taxes, since the last four-year reauthorization expired in the fall of 2007.
As members of Congress are fond of saying when an onerous bill hits their desks, President Obama’s renewed call for a $100 user fee for turbine aircraft flights in “controlled” airspace probably will be “dead on arrival” on Capitol Hill. The per-flight user fee is included in the White House’s Fiscal Year 2013 budget of $3.8 trillion that was released on Thursday.
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