HOYER, OBERSTAR, AIRLINES MEET TO DISCUSS CONGRESSIONAL RESPONSE TO INDUSTRY’S WOES

For Immediate Release:

March 27, 2003

Contact:Stacey Farnen
202-225-3130

WASHINGTON, DC– House Democratic WhipSteny H. Hoyer (MD) and Transportation Committee Ranking Member Jim Oberstar (MN) meet with representatives of the airline companies today to discuss government assistance to the airline industry.  Representatives DeFazio and Lipinski also participated in the meeting.

     “Mr. Oberstar and I met with representatives of five airlines this afternoon to review the alternative ways to help the airline companies and employees weather the current economic and political storm,” said Hoyer. 

   “A healthy airline industry is key to a strong economy and our nation’s security, so it is the responsibility of Congress to be a part of the solution - to not act is not an option.  Democrats are going to work with management and workers to assure a future for the industry and the tens of thousands of jobs it represents, and I would hope that our Republican colleagues will join with us so that we may act quickly.” 

   “The airlines have already shouldered, and are continuing to shoulder a disproportionate share of the costs of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.  We must not force them to bear a disproportionate share of the direct and indirect costs of the war in Iraq,” Oberstar said.  “We must act now to provide airlines with stable, low-cost war risk insurance from the federal government, relief from security burdens that are the responsibility of the entire country, and assistance in coping with any major increases in fuel costs and any loss of traffic, resulting from this war.” 

   “I will also be talking with employee representatives in the coming days to thank them for their hard work and to further discuss how Congress should aid the industry, protect employees and help those who have lost their jobs,” added Hoyer.

    The airlines represented at the meeting today included American Airlines, United Airlines, Continental Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and US Airways.

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