December 31, 2001
Congress began the year with a newly elected President—whose election was steeped in controversy—an evenly split Senate and a Republican-controlled House of Representatives. Then, in May, Republican Senator James Jeffords of Vermont announced that he was becoming an Independent, thus switching control of the Senate from Republicans to Democrats. Despite these unprecedented political parameters, it was the terrorist attacks of September 11 that had the largest impact on this congressional session's agenda. After the attacks, citizens looked to Congress to restore security and to provide economic relief. AOPA was involved in key initiatives affecting members ranging from aviation security and FAA funding (including funding priorities), to general aviation small business relief.
After the congressional recess ends in late January, the highest priorities for AOPA Legislative Affairs will be to work with Congress for passage of a GA relief package, to see the Chicago airports bill preserving Meigs Field signed into law, to continue working on comprehensive airport land-use legislation, advancing AOPA's priorities in FAA spending, as well as beginning work on the new FAA Reauthorization Act. The current act, AIR-21, will authorize funding for federal aviation programs through 2003 to the sum of $40 billion.
Key issues AOPA Legislative Affairs worked on during 2001:
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