Hoyer: Motion to Recommit FAA Conference Report Clips Republican Leadership’s Wings

For Immediate Release:

October 28, 2003

Contact:Stacey Farnen
202-225-3130

WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) lauded the passage tonight of a Motion to Recommit the FAA Reauthorization Act to the conference committee as a clear rebuke to the Republican leadership, which fundamentally altered the legislation in conference after it passed the House 418-8 and the Senate 94-0 in June.  The Democratic Caucus unanimously voted for this Motion, which passed by a vote of 407 to 0:

“With the passage of this Motion, the Republican leadership now has an opportunity to dispense with the outrageous and undemocratic tactics that have delayed consideration of this FAA conference report for four months.  Let’s hope that they have learned this important lesson: They cannot utterly disregard the will of the Members of Congress, and hope to get away with it.

“In June, both the House and Senate supported legislation that explicitly barred the privatization of air traffic controllers.  Both sides of the aisle agreed: Air traffic control is an inherently governmental function that should be performed by Federal employees, not private contractors.

“But then, after virtually no discussion and a make-believe conference, the Republican leadership subverted the will of the Congress, hijacked this legislation and stripped out the language barring privatization.  Instead, Republican announced that they intended to turn 69 air traffic control towers over to private companies.

“It’s time the Republican leadership stopped these shenanigans.  This conference report was never considered on the Floor because the leadership knew that it did not have the votes to pass it.  We need to send this bill back to conference and make sure the conferees include an explicit provision barring privatization just like the House- and Senate-passed bills. 

Simply striking the objectionable measure is not enough since that would still permit the FAA, under an existing executive order, to privatize any air traffic control tower it wants.”

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