106th Congress — First Session
DOT Funding Reductions to Hit Aviation Hardest
Dec. 9, 1999 — The funding reduction required of the Department of Transportation following a final deal over federal spending between the White House and Congress now looks to impact aviation the most. The .38% cut in the FAA's discretionary spending will not be taken from the agency's safety programs according to a DOT spokesman, but the largest cuts will be felt most by the Airport Improvement Program. The program, which remains suspended without authorization, will receive a cut of $53 million — approximately 2.5% of its over $2 billion appropriation.
House Adjourns Despite Eleventh-Hour Attempts to Revitalize Negotiations
Nov. 19, 1999 — Despite an eleventh-hour attempt to work out disagreements over the guaranteed funding issue, the House of Representatives adjourned for its holiday recess last night without passing an FAA Reauthorization bill. House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Bud Shuster, Senate Budget Committee Chairman Pete Domenici, and Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott sat down late yesterday afternoon to see if any agreement could be reached in the final hours of the congressional session. A letter to the leadership detailing a mechanism that would bind appropriators to fund the FAA and Airport Improvement Program (AIP) at levels that matched aviation trust fund revenue plus interest was the only change offered by Senate negotiators to their previous proposal. Chairman Shuster has insisted on either taking the trust fund "off budget" or providing "firewall" mechanisms to guarantee that trust fund monies are not spent on programs other than aviation.
The Senate passed a six-month extension of the FAA and AIP late last week, but the House did not take up the issue. Chairman Shuster has said that he would continue to adamantly oppose further short-term extensions. As a result, the final omnibus spending bill agreed to by the White House and congressional leaders does not contain such a provision. However, the currently unauthorized program will remain in place, and air traffic control operations will continue operating under existing law. The Senate is expected to adjourn this weekend, and both sides expect talks to resume after the New Year.
FAA Reauthorization Negotiations Go Down
Nov. 11, 1999 — Negotiations finally broke down late last night between House and Senate conferees over legislation to reauthorize funding of the FAA and the Airport Improvement Program. Final action on the bill will most likely be delayed until January.
After weeks of intense negotiations, no agreement could be reached on unlocking the aviation trust fund and whether or not future aviation spending should include a contribution from the Treasury's general fund. In a statement released last night, House Transportation Committee Chairman Bud Shuster (R-Pa.) said he could not support the Senate position that would spend approximately $3 billion less in revenue over the next three years than the trust fund takes in. Shuster summed up the House conferees' frustration when he said, "Worshipping at the altar of fiscal short-sightedness will carry a high price when our aviation system becomes hopelessly congested. If we do not make the investments that are necessary, we risk the destruction of one of the economic engines that keeps our economy roaring."
Focus now turns to how Congress plans to fund aviation spending for the current fiscal year. Many analysts believe lawmakers will simply pass another short-term extension. However, Shuster stated that he would oppose such a measure. "This band-aid approach can only delay the significant investments that the flying public has paid for and deserves," the Pennsylvania Republican said. Members of Congress will return to Washington tomorrow with hopes of finishing for the year before the weekend.
FAA Reauthorization Bill Holding With No Clearance Expected
Nov. 10, 1999 — The stalemate over FAA reauthorization continues on Capitol Hill this week as lawmakers from both the House and Senate try and find a compromise. If no common ground can be found, House and Senate leadership are prepared to fund the FAA and the Airport Improvement Program (AIP) over the short term by attaching another extension to one of the bills yet to be passed this year. The FAA and AIP were both funded by short-term extensions last year.
After bowing out earlier this week to negotiate with the White House over other budgetary matters, Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) reentered the talks yesterday at the request of House Transportation Committee Chairman Bud Shuster (R-Pa.). Shuster is in a standoff with Senate Budget Committee Chairman Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) over his proposal to use the $11 billion surplus and interest accumulated in the aviation trust fund, and the "guarantee" of a $3 billion-per-year contribution from the Treasury's general fund. Domenici has held fast against such a proposal, thus forcing Lott back into the talks at Shuster's request. Various proposals are still being discussed, including the possibility of guaranteeing the continuation of contributions from the general fund for FAA operations. Such an agreement could be reached via a side agreement letter signed by the leadership of both bodies. With the House passing a continuing resolution last night to fund the government, and the Senate expected to pass one today, lawmakers will have additional time to find common ground.
Aviation Trust Fund Provision Still Grounded
Nov. 5, 1999 — Negotiations over legislation to unlock the aviation trust fund continued on Thursday with Senator Majority Leader Trent Lott entering the talks on behalf of Senator John McCain, who was on the Presidential campaign trail. However, all signs indicate that both sides appear to be no closer to an agreement as the congressional recess, forecast for Nov. 10, rapidly approaches.
Senator Lott and Speaker Dennis Hastert have told the conferees that they would like a deal as soon as possible. House Transportation Committee Chairman Bud Shuster would like to increase the level of aviation funding while Senate Budget Committee Chairman Pete Domenici prefers to see it remain at its current level. Furthermore, Chairman Domenici's plan would eliminate the portion coming from the U.S. Treasury's general fund and instead rely on strictly general aviation and airline ticket tax revenue from the aviation trust fund.
Further negotiations are expected today.
Clinton Vetoes 1 Percent Budget Cut
Nov. 4, 1999 — Calling the measure "blind" and "mindless," President Clinton followed through on a threat to veto the Republican-sponsored 1-percent across-the-board budget cut yesterday, thus setting up the final budget battle of 1999. The measure was part of the fiscal year 2000 Labor Health and Human Services Appropriations Bill, which passed the Senate by a narrow margin of 49-48 earlier this week.
In a post-veto Rose Garden speech yesterday, President Clinton said that the spending cuts would "clearly damage vital priorities." Republicans had designed the maneuver in an effort to stay within the 1997 balanced budget agreement. However, analysts say that such a plan would reduce funding to many essential agencies, including those that fund aviation.
Trust Fund Off Budget Issue Not Getting Off the Ground
Nov. 4, 1999 — House and Senate conferees met again yesterday to discuss "unlocking" the aviation trust fund in order to increase spending on vital improvements to the nation's airway and airport system. Yesterday's meeting marks the third time members of Congress have met to receive staff recommendations on how an agreement might be reached. After making a wide variety of contrasting statements on the issue, it appears as though both sides are intent on holding their ground. Many analysts now predict that the chance of a compromise anytime this year appears to be in doubt.
Senate Budget Committee Counterproposal to Unlocking the Aviation Trust Fund Well "Off the Centerline"
Nov. 2, 1999 — The Senate Budget Committee's counteroffer to provisions that would unlock the aviation trust fund contained in H.R. 1000 is being met with fierce opposition from general aviation advocacy groups, such as AOPA. The proposal, to eliminate the general fund contributions to FAA operations, would be a step back from the current law and would make a tax increase on general aviation pilots and airline passengers all but inevitable.
In a letter to the conferees, AOPA President Phil Boyer said, "The general fund contribution to FAA operations has existed throughout the entire 30-year history of the aviation trust fund. An attempt to strike the general fund contribution was soundly defeated in the House on June 15 by a vote of 179-248, and therefore we believe the issue should be considered outside the scope of the conference." Boyer went on to add, "AOPA hopes the conferees will move beyond mere committee jurisdiction to considering what's best for our national aviation system.
The Budget Committee proposal would authorize FAA programs at a level matching the actual annual tax receipts to the Airport and Airway Trust Fund. AOPA estimates show that this proposal would only result in a continuation of the historic spending pattern for the FAA, thus shortchanging its much-needed modernization and infrastructure needs.
AOPA members who live in states that have a senator serving on the AIR-21 conference committee are highly encouraged to call them today and express their strong opposition to this proposal. All U.S. senators may be reached through the Capitol Hill switchboard at 202/224-3121.
Senate Budget Committee Presents Counterproposal to Unlocking the Aviation Trust Fund
Oct. 29, 1999 — Senate Budget Chairman Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) made a counteroffer yesterday to House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Shuster's plan to unlock the aviation trust fund. As expected, the Domenici plan would eliminate the general fund contribution for FAA operations, drawing down the balance in the aviation trust with a promise to restore the general fund contribution in future years. Eliminating the general fund contribution to FAA operations has always been a goal of the Budget Committee. Given the fact the House voted decisively in June not to eliminate the general fund contribution, it's unlikely this initial offer will be accepted. The Domenici plan would also not guarantee increased aviation spending. AOPA Legislative Affairs analysis of aviation spending concluded that without continuation of a general fund contribution, there would be little, if any, real growth in aviation spending without further tax increases or user fees.
House to Vote Today on Further Cuts to Aviation Spending
Oct. 28, 1999 — In an attempt to look as if Congress has met the requirements of the 1997 agreement to balance the federal budget by reducing federal spending, House leaders have announced that the Labor Health and Human Services Appropriations Bill for fiscal year 2000, which will be voted on today, will also include a 1-percent across-the-board spending cut in all previously approved government spending for this year — including aviation spending. This latest maneuver is designed to avoid making hard choices regarding federal spending envisioned in the 1997 balanced budget agreement. Other budget gimmicks embraced by congressional leaders this year include directed scoring, bogus emergency spending, and deferred spending.
Oct. 27, 1999 — The chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Rep. Bud Shuster (R-Pa.), told supporters yesterday that "great progress" had been made over the weekend, and that within the next three days, it was likely that a decision would be made to revise the budget treatment of aviation spending or the negotiations would "fall apart." Chairman Shuster also reiterated his pledge to not accept another short-term extension of FAA funding and, if necessary, delay the bill until the next year in order to unlock the aviation trust fund.
FAA Conference Under Way
Oct. 20, 1999 — House/Senate conferees today completed a second round of discussions on the FAA reauthorization. The conferees resolved another 12 non-controversial differences between the bills. However, the ranking member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Rep. Jim Oberstar (D-Minn.), pointed out all those agreements assume "increased and guaranteed spending from the aviation trust fund."
At the end of the meeting, the leaders of the House and Senate negotiating teams, Rep. Bud Shuster (R-Pa.) and Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.), directed staff to begin a two-track process: first, to continue resolving differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill, and in addition, staff was instructed to prepare the background papers necessary to begin discussions on "unlocking the aviation trust fund."
One conferee who is a foe of unlocking the trust fund, Senate Budget Committee Chairman Pete Domenici (R-N.M.), stated if unlocking the trust fund means off budget, "We'll be talking awhile." However, Senator Domenici also stated his belief that "we can look at ways to define this (i.e., unlocking the trust fund) in ways where we can work together."
This statement is a welcome development, as to date the Senate Budget Committee staff has been adamantly opposed to any change in the budget treatment for aviation.
McCain Attacked by Washington Post
Oct. 20, 1999 — Today the Washington Post accused Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) of diluting legislation he developed to improve airline customer service "after the airline industry announced a voluntary plan to improve customer service — and diverted a hasty infusion of "soft money" donations to both political parities...."
Since the last conspiracy hatched by the major airlines resulted in their industry receiving a tax increase in the 1997 tax bill, the Post article appears to be giving the airlines more credit than they ought to receive. The circumstances mentioned in the Post article coincided with a major annual fundraising dinner to which AOPA was also invited. In fact, it is likely this story may have been floated by the opponents of Sen. McCain's efforts to reform campaign finance laws.
However, all private pilots should be concerned about the airlines' increasing reliance on "soft money" (largely unregulated donations to national parties) especially as certain carriers continue to campaign for an airline-run air traffic control system. Through the first six months of this year, airlines spent $1.3 million on political donations.
Hollings to Name Senate Democratic Conferees to AIR-21
Oct. 14, 1999 — Senate Commerce ranking member Ernest (Fritz) Hollings (D-S.C.), yesterday named the Democratic conferees to the House-Senate conference committee on AIR-21 (H.R. 1000). Commerce Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.), announced the Republican conferees last week.
Earlier, Hollings expressed his opposition to the Senate going to conference on the bill with Senate Budget Committee members as part of the conference. Hollings, who supports Chairman Bud Shuster's efforts to increase aviation spending and take the trust fund off-budget, was concerned that Budget Committee member opposition to off-budget would overwhelm those who support it.
AOPA members who live in states that have Senate conferees on the AIR-21 conference committee are urged to call or write their senators today and express support for the trust fund off-budget provision. The Capitol Hill switchboard telephone number is 202/224-3121; the Senate address is: United States Senate, Washington, DC 20510.
Senator John McCain (AZ)
Senator Ernest (Fritz) Hollings (SC)
Senator Trent Lott (MS)
Senator Jay Rockefeller (WV)
Senator Pete Domenici (NM)
Senator Daniel Inouye (HI)
Senator Conrad Burns (MT)
Senator John Kerry (MA)
Senator Slade Gorton (WA)
Senator Frank Lautenberg (NJ)
Senator Charles Grassley (IA)
Senator Kent Conrad (ND)
Senator Don Nickles (OK)
Senator Ted Stevens (AK)
Senate Approves Reauthorization Bill
Stage Set for House-Senate Conference to Unlock the Trust Fund
Oct. 6, 1999 — Last night by voice vote the U.S. Senate approved S. 82, legislation to reauthorize FAA programs for four years. The House approved its version of the bill, AIR-21 (H.R. 1000), in June. AIR-21 includes very important changes to the budget process that would unlock the aviation trust fund. The stage is now set for a House-Senate conference to write the final version of the bill.
The AOPA Legislative Affairs staff is still analyzing the hundreds of changes to the bill that were made on the Senate floor. However, thanks to the efforts of AOPA members of the Senate, Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), two provisions important to pilots were added to the bill.
Senator Inhofe's fight to protect the rights of pilots against arbitrary revocation of pilot certificates took a major step forward when his "Hoover bill" legislation was added to the reauthorization. AOPA members may recall his effort in 1998 fell just two votes short, and with the help of AOPA grass-roots support this year in key states, both the House and Senate versions of the bill now have additional pilot protections.
At the request of Senator Frist, the Senate legislation now includes a provision, drafted with the assistance of AOPA, to transfer the aeronautical charting function from NOAA to the FAA. If accepted in the final bill, this legislation would end the seemingly annual threats to terminate production of various important GA products, including WAC charts.
AOPA needs your help in the coming days. Senate and Administration opposition to unlocking the aviation trust fund could result in yet another short-term extension of the FAA. We need you to call your senators today (202/224-3121) and tell them to support the provisions in AIR-21 that unlock the aviation trust fund.
Congress Approves FAA Funding For Year 2000, General Fund Contribution Eliminated
Oct. 5, 1999 — The House and Senate approved legislation last night funding the FAA in FY2000, which began on October 1. The Department of Transportation and Related Agencies Appropriations bill for FY2000 provides the FAA with $10.1 billion, a $500 million increase over FY99. However, the chief highlight of the bill was the elimination of the general fund contribution for FAA operations due to an ongoing dispute between two congressional committees over the proposal in AIR-21 to revise the budget treatment for aviation. Aviation has traditionally received a general fund contribution, averaging 30 percent of total FAA funding, for operation of the air traffic control system.
The House and Senate Appropriations committees have long opposed the effort to unlock the transportation trust funds. The Appropriators argue such action will destroy the unified budget process and breach the overall caps on federal spending agreed to in 1997. Supporters of AIR-21, including AOPA, argue aviation taxes have never been fully spent for the intended purpose and question a budget process that uses gimmicks like forward funding to evade spending caps and hard decisions.
A long-term continuation of this policy would wipe out any benefit to unlocking the aviation trust fund and within a few years trigger tax increases on both general aviation pilots and airline passengers. However, the Appropriators' action will have only a minimal short-term effect, and the authorization legislation that passed the House in June as part of AIR-21 reinstates the general fund contribution in the future.
Senate Begins Consideration of FAA Authorization
Oct. 4, 1999 — Today the U.S. Senate began debate on legislation to reauthorize the FAA's programs. The bill would authorize funding for all FAA operations and programs for three years and would set long-term policy guidance for the agency.
The FAA is currently operating without authorization under congressional stopgap measures, but funding for airport construction and improvement (AIP) was stopped from August 5 through September 27. Airport funding halted again on October 1 and will remain in limbo until reauthorization legislation is signed into law.
The bill, S. 82, is similar to the House-passed reauthorization bill, H.R. 1000 (also called AIR-21). However, the Senate bill does not include the House's special budget treatment that would permit all aviation trust fund monies to be spent promptly on aviation. Approval of this legislation will set the stage for a final House/Senate conference this year.
New provisions are being added to the Senate bill in a "manager's amendment." This manager's amendment will be part of negotiations between the House, Senate, and Administration on the final reauthorization bill. At this point, the entire content of the manager's amendment is still unknown. However, in the floor speech describing the amendment, Senate aviation subcommittee Chairman Slade Gorton (R-Wash.) said it includes a key AOPA recommendation to transfer the aeronautical charting function from NOAA to FAA.
Debate on the bill is expected to continue through at least Wednesday.
Congress Funds Airports
Sept. 28, 1999 — On September 24, the Senate passed, by voice vote, legislation allowing the FAA to spend the remaining $290 million set aside for airport funding in fiscal year 1999 — which ends October 1, 1999. The funds had been frozen on August 5 of this year, caught up in an ongoing dispute over long-term FAA authorization legislation.
The House also passed the bill by voice vote on September 27.
One of the main beneficiaries of this legislation will be general aviation airports.
AOPA Urges Senate to Bring the Federal Aviation Reauthorization Bill to the Floor
Sept. 14, 1999 — AOPA President Phil Boyer wrote letters to the Majority Leader Senator Trent Lott and Minority Leader Senator Thomas Daschle, urging them to bring S. 82, the Federal Aviation Reauthorization bill, to the floor. [See also the letters.]
In the letter Boyer expressed concern the bill is no nearer to completion then it was in June. There have been three short-term extensions since the 1996 authorization bill expired, and the FAA is currently operating without an authorization. AOPA also understands new provisions are being discussed and will possibly be added to the bill in the form of a manager's amendment. The letter urged the leaders to make these new provisions public so AOPA and other aviation groups can review them.
The House acted on the companion version, H.R. 1000 (AIR 21), on June 16, 1999.
Battle for Trust Fund Off-Budget Moves to Conference Committee
New Bill Is Focus of Efforts
Aug. 25, 1999 — When Congress reconvenes Sept. 7, the effort to take the Airport and Airway Trust Fund "off-budget" will move to a House-Senate conference committee. Phil Boyer has issued a call for all pilots to contact both their U.S. senators to urge them to support the trust fund off-budget provisions of the House version of S. 1467.
The new bill number, which replaces H.R. 1000 and H.R. 111, came into play in late July when the Senate passed a short-term extension for the Airport Improvement Program numbered S. 1467. Rep. Bud Shuster, the champion of taking the trust fund off-budget, engineered a parliamentary maneuver by adding the entire text of his FAA reauthorization bill, AIR-21, to the Senate's bill. Shuster took the opportunity to keep the process moving.
A House-Senate conference committee composed of members of both chambers will work out the differences between the House and Senate versions of S. 1467 when Congress returns from its August recess.
Senate Passes Short-term Extension for AIP
May Bypass Debate on AIR-21
Aug. 2, 1999 — The U.S. Senate has passed yet another short-term extension of the Airport Improvement Program. The action may be the best the Senate can manage to answer AIR-21, the bill the House passed in June that would reinstate a multi-year AIP authorization and provide additional funds by taking the Airport and Airway Trust Fund "off-budget."
If enacted, this would be the fourth extension of AIP since it expired last October. Legislators have been battling over the FAA ever since. The main points of contention are the off-budget issue, which is championed by AIR-21 sponsor Bud Shuster (R-Penn.), and a push by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) for increased airline service at the nation's four airports limited by takeoff and landing slots.
The Senate's short-term extension bill could bypass Senate debate on the FAA altogether if it is accepted by the House as the Senate's alternative to AIR-21. Legislators from both chambers would then move directly to a conference committee to write a compromise bill. The final version would still require Senate and House approval, but it could not be amended, only sent back to the conference committee for more work.
Support in the House for taking the trust fund off-budget is strong — AOPA helped repel an amendment to remove the trust fund off-budget provision last June, and the amendment failed by a vote of 179-248. Senate support for the off-budget provision is less certain, though. Several key senators have expressed opposition to the idea.
Shuster is reportedly tired of the delay and may demand a conference on his bill. Senators who oppose taking the trust fund off-budget could try to block appointment of Senate members of the conference committee. With Congress scheduled to begin a month-long recess next week, it is quite possible that further action will not come until September.
If so, AIP will lapse. Current airport projects funded by AIP could continue, though, and most scheduled for the summer construction season are already under way.
To help unlock the aviation trust fund, AOPA members should write to both their U.S. senators and urge them to support the off-budget provisions of H.R. 1000. Senators often hold town meetings with constituents in their home states during the August congressional recess (Aug. 7-Sept. 7), so this month is a good time to visit them in person and ask for their help. See AOPA's trust fund issue brief for more information on the issue; see also the detailed legislative status of S. 1467.
Boyer Defends VFR Flying in Capitol Hill Presentation
Part of Aggressive AOPA Campaign after JFK, Jr. Accident
July 22, 1999 — As part of a weeklong media blitz, AOPA President Phil Boyer gave legislators the facts about VFR training, night flying, and GA's safety record in the wake of the accident that killed John F. Kennedy, Jr.
At the hearing before the House aviation subcommittee, Boyer dispelled the myths that VFR-rated pilots had no training in dealing with instrument meteorological conditions or that VFR night flying is less safe than daylight flying.
Boyer brought along a PC-based flight simulator, which he projected on the wall of the hearing room to demonstrate night flying conditions and a return to VFR conditions using instruments. Though some members of the aviation subcommittee are pilots or have flown in demonstration flights and simulators, Boyer's demonstration was an unprecedented display of general aviation flight in the halls of Congress.
House of Representatives Casts Historic Vote to Unlock the Trust Fund!
June 16, 1999 — After years of struggle by AOPA and thousands of letters and phone calls from AOPA members nationwide, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 316-110 last night to unlock the Airport and Airway Trust Fund. The bill, which now goes to the Senate for consideration, takes the trust fund "off-budget," allowing aviation spending to match the amount pilots and airline passengers pay in aviation excise taxes.
The House passed the bill after rejecting, 179-248, an amendment to remove the off-budget provision of the bill. Click here for more information.
To see how your representative voted, click on our links to the vote tallies:
Off-budget amendment. AOPA opposed passage of the amendment to remove the off-budget provisions from the bill, so a "no" vote was a vote for AOPA.
Final passage. AOPA supported final passage of the bill, so a "yes" vote was a vote for AOPA.
Senators Ask for Input on Aero Chart Plan
Lawmakers Cite Concerns of General Aviation
June 10, 1999 — Eight key senators have signed a letter asking to provide input on transfer of production of aeronautical charts to a new government agency, citing concerns raised by AOPA.
The senators sent the letter to Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) asking to help with legislation that would remove the aero charting function from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). AOPA supports moving the function to the FAA, but the Clinton administration proposes giving it to the Department of Transportation's administrative service center.
"As you know, aeronautical charts and related navigation information is essential for safe aircraft operations," they wrote. The transfer of the chart function "would have a substantive impact on these products and services, and we feel this action should not be undertaken without serious considerations."
The letter was signed by senators Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Conrad Burns (R-Mont.), Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), John Ashcroft (R-Mo.), Frank Murkowski (R-Alaska), Gordon Smith (R-Ore.), and Wayne Allard (R-Colo.).
AOPA Blasts FAA over Airport Oversight
Lax Enforcement on Land Use Brings "Outrageous Abuses"
June 9, 1999 — Citing a scathing report by the U.S. General Accounting Office, AOPA President Phil Boyer strongly criticized the FAA for failing to adequately police the proper use of airport land acquired with the help of federal grants or land transfers. Boyer cited several "outrageous abuses" of airport grant assurances — promises signed by airports to use land for aviation purposes only.
At a June 9 hearing, Boyer showed the House aviation subcommittee pictures of some of the improper land uses AOPA members have encountered, including a dog pound, a water plant, little league baseball parks, a mobile home park, a senior center, a mosquito control unit, public-use hunting and farming areas, and a landfill.
AOPA Thanks Congresswoman for Veterans' Tax Relief Bill
Flight Training Benefits Retroactively Taxed
June 8, 1999 — AOPA President Phil Boyer sent a letter to Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-Calif.), thanking her for introducing a bill to allow certain veterans who had to repay their tax deduction for flight training expenses, and whose claims were not settled due to legal time limits or were settled unfavorably, a one-time opportunity to file for a refund.
The Internal Revenue Service ruled in 1980 that veterans' flight training benefits were not tax deductible and applied the decision retroactively to charge veterans who had taken the deduction in prior years. In 1985, taxpayers won a lawsuit overturning the retroactive decision, but only some taxpayers were covered by the court's decision.
"We believe it's unfair for the IRS to demand our veterans repay flight training tax deductions after they were told by the IRS that their tax deductions were proper," wrote Boyer.
Rep. Tauscher's bill (H.R. 2004) would allow any taxpayer whose claims were settled unfavorably with the IRS, or whose claims the IRS never considered due to legal time limits, the right to file for a refund. Rep. Tauscher introduced a similar bill in the last session of Congress.
Truth in Budgeting Act Sponsors Hit Back
Decry "Disinformation" on Cuts in Other Programs
May 28, 1999 — The chief congressional sponsors of legislation to unlock the Airport and Airway Trust Fund have fired back at critics who say the legislation will require cuts in other programs.
"AIR-21 provides about $14 billion in increased spending...to make our Nation's skies and airports as safe, competitive, and congestion-free as they can be," said the leaders of the campaign to pass the bill in a letter to House of Representatives members.
Since the bill takes the aviation trust fund "off-budget," the increased spending will not count under the federal government's overall cap on spending. "Therefore, no cuts will be required in other federal programs."
In fact, they added, the Truth in Budgeting Act will make room for more federal spending by removing FAA's budget from under the spending caps.
The letter was signed by House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bud Shuster (R-Penn.), T&I's senior Democrat, James Oberstar (Minn.), aviation subcommittee Chairman John Duncan (R-Tenn.), and the subcommittee's top Democrat, William Lipinksi.
The House is scheduled to vote on H.R. 1000 the week of June 14. AOPA has issued a National Pilot Alert for pilots to contact their members of Congress in support this historic legislation.
Unlock the Trust Fund Bill Readied for Floor Vote
House to Consider Historic Legislation the Week of June 14
May 27, 1999 — A House of Representatives panel today sent its bill to unlock the Airport and Airway Trust Fund to the House floor, clearing the way for a vote on the week of June 14.
The legislation, sponsored by Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bud Shuster (R-Penn.), would ensure that aviation taxes are spent promptly for aviation purposes by taking the aviation trust fund "off-budget" so that spending does not count in federal budget calculations. The new treatment of the trust fund allows for a direct link between the amount paid in aviation taxes and the amount spent on aviation.
The bill, H.R. 1000, was amended today to reflect an agreement reached with House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.). Under the agreement, the trust fund will be brought off-budget beginning in fiscal year 2001 instead of next year, and the amount of the FAA's budget coming from the general fund rather than the trust fund will be frozen at last year's level. The bill would spend a total of $57.35 billion on the FAA over four years — $14.3 billion more than Congress would likely approve without taking the trust fund off-budget.
Shuster wrapped his original bill to take the trust fund off-budget (H.R. 111) into a larger FAA reauthorization bill (H.R. 1000) for the House to consider June 15.
AOPA has issued a National Pilot Alert asking pilots to support this important legislation.
Transportation Spending Bills Make Progress
Healthy Funding for Airport Grants
May 27, 1999 — Both chambers of Congress moved toward passage of funding bills for the FAA today.
The Senate Appropriations Committee sent to the Senate floor a $10 billion FAA spending package that includes $2 billion for Airport Improvement Program (AIP) grants in FY2000, up slightly from the current $1.95 billion. The bill includes several measures supported by AOPA, including:
- Continued funding for the Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS), the FAA's GPS-based precision approach system.
- Funding to extend operation of loran C as a backup while transitioning to WAAS.
- A requirement that the Department of Transportation review the OASIS program before releasing further funds. OASIS, which has been plagued by delays and poor performance, is an upgrade of flight service station computer systems.
- A requirement that the FAA beef up its scrutiny of airport compliance with grant assurances that airports must sign in exchange for accepting AIP funds. A recent U.S. General Accounting Office report blasted the FAA for failing to ensure that property bought with AIP grants are used properly.
In the House, the transportation appropriations subcommittee approved a bill providing $10.5 billion for the FAA, including $2.25 billion for AIP. The panel also voiced opposition to moving the government's aeronautical chart functions to the Department of Transportation's administrative service center. The aero chart function is set to transfer from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The committee sided with AOPA's view that the charting function belongs in the FAA.
Both bills expressed disdain for the Clinton administration's request to charge FAA user fees. Senate lawmakers called the plan "budgetary smoke and mirrors," and the House once again explicitly prohibited the FAA from charging new user fees. Both chambers are expected to consider these bills in early June.
Congress Set to Extend FAA Authorization — Again
Unlock Trust Fund Vote Gets Firm Date
May 20, 1999 — Negotiators have agreed to another temporary extension of the Airport Improvement Program in a supplemental spending bill working its way through Congress.
The extension to August 6 marks the third time Congress has pushed back the deadline for passing a new FAA bill. The effort stalled last year over a dispute on expanding airline service at the nation's busiest airports.
This year, the House is poised to pass an FAA reauthorization bill that contains House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bud Shuster's proposal to unlock the Airport and Airway Trust Fund (H.R. 111). The FAA bill has now been scheduled for a vote the week of June 14.
Phil Boyer has issued a National Pilot Alert calling for pilots to contact their lawmakers in support of the Unlock the Trust Fund legislation before the vote occurs.
AOPA Backs Asset Seizure Reform Bill
Legislation Would Restore Rights of Property Owners
May 5, 1999 — AOPA is supporting legislation that would protect many innocent property owners when the government seizes their property on suspicion of criminal activity involving drugs.
"Because illegal drugs are often smuggled by air, innocent aircraft owners are acutely affected by the power of the government to seize their aircraft," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "AOPA supports efforts to stop drug smuggling, but the horrors that perfectly innocent pilots can go through after their property is seized is a clarion call for beefing up protection of their rights."
The bill, H.R. 1658, introduced Monday by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Henry Hyde (R-Ill.), would put the burden of proof that seizure is justified on the government and remove several barriers to retrieving confiscated property or suing the government for damages.
"Innocent aircraft owners can easily fall into situations where their aircraft is rented, stolen, or used without their knowledge to commit a crime involving drugs, or where passengers commit crimes without their knowledge," added Boyer. "These innocent aircraft owners are victims of crime, not criminals, and the government should not punish them for it."
Nevada Land Transfer Bill Protects GA Facility
Sen. Harry Reid Requires Guarantee for Jean Airport
May 5, 1999 — Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has written protections for Jean Airport, a general aviation facility near Las Vegas, into a bill he introduced last week that would sell federal land for a new commercial airport in Nevada's Ivanpah Valley.
The bill requires, as a condition of the land sale, an assessment of the impact on VFR operations, development of alternatives that ensure VFR access to the affected airspace is not degraded, and that the Clark County Department of Aviation retain ownership of Jean and continue to operate and maintain it as a GA facility. AOPA consulted with Sen. Reid and local pilots on the language in the bill (S. 930) protecting Jean Airport.
"Sen. Reid deserves our thanks for protecting the interests of general aviation from the beginning of this process," said Phil Boyer. "In a time when so many GA facilities are under siege, it's heartening to see someone in Congress looking out for general aviation and heading off a protracted battle over the future of this airport."
Unlock Trust Fund Effort Dodges Bullet in Budget Plan
Congress Adopts Spending Blueprint with Transportation Cuts
Apr. 16, 1999 — Congress adopted a budget resolution this week after Senate negotiators agreed not to include a statement opposing efforts in the House of Representatives to unlock the Airport and Airway Trust Fund. The action is another small but important victory in AOPA's effort to assure that revenue paid into the trust fund is spent promptly for aviation purposes.
The budget resolution is a blueprint for the year's budget; the details will be hashed out next. Congress is operating under annual caps on spending first adopted in 1990 to eliminate annual deficits. The task of writing a balanced budget is complicated by a required $30 billion reduction in the spending cap from last year's level.
To make the cuts required to get under the lower spending cap, this year's budget resolution recommends a 15-percent reduction in transportation spending from last year's level. Appropriators will decide how much, if any, of that reduction to take from the Federal Aviation Administration's budget.
This year marks only the second time Congress has passed a budget resolution by the April 15 deadline since it began writing budget resolutions in 1974. It was a stark contrast to last year, when Congress failed to adopt a budget resolution at all. When the smoke cleared, last year's budget also came in at $21 billion over the spending cap for the fiscal year.
Despite speedy action on the budget resolution, most of the controversial decisions have been put off for later. Debate continues to rage over whether to cut taxes, increase spending, or pay down the national debt with the projected budget surplus.
Both chambers will likely vote on FAA reauthorization bills in May, and the House version will contain a provision to unlock the trust fund. Phil Boyer has issued a National Pilot Alert for AOPA members to contact their legislators in support of the unlock the trust fund legislation. The difficulty of complying with this year's spending cap will make the effort to unlock the trust fund a greater struggle. Support from pilots is crucial to its success.
Deal Prevents Fight Over Aviation Spending in Budget Blueprint
Unlock the Trust Fund Bill on Track
Mar. 26, 1999 — House of Representatives leaders made a deal with the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee that will pave the way for a vote on a bill to unlock the Airport and Airway Trust Fund.
T&I Committee Chairman Bud Shuster (R-Penn.) and the Committee's top Democrat, James Oberstar (Minn.) had sought to amend the GOP's budget resolution when it came to the House floor last yesterday. The budget resolution is a blueprint for writing spending and tax laws this year. Shuster's amendment would have set aside a place in the budget for increased aviation spending or a cut in aviation excise taxes, but House leaders feared it would upset the delicate balance in the budget resolution.
The compromise set aside the issue until Congress considers Shuster's bill to unlock the Airport and Airway Trust Fund. House leaders pledged to bring the bill to the House floor for a vote, probably by May. The budget resolution will not commit to spending the money in the aviation trust fund before that vote occurs.
The House passed the budget resolution yesterday before breaking for spring recess.
Shuster is leading a bipartisan effort to assure that aviation excise taxes paid by aviation users, including the fuel tax general aviation pilots pay, are spent promptly for aviation purposes instead of languishing in the trust fund. AOPA President Phil Boyer has issued a nationwide call to all 345,000 AOPA members to contact their elected representatives and ask them to cosponsor H.R. 111, the Truth in Budgeting Act of 1999, that would unlock the trust fund.
The deal shifts the entire battle over the quest to unlock the trust fund to the vote on Shuster's bill. Boyer called on pilots to double their efforts to prepare for the vote.
"This landmark legislation will determine the future of general aviation well into the next century," said Boyer. "Unlocking the trust fund would free badly needed funds for aviation spending and eliminate the need for new aviation user fees. The chance to pass it may not come again — pilots must act now."
House Passes Two-Month Extension of FAA Programs
Lawmakers Have Until May 31 to Pass New Bill
Mar. 26, 1999 — In a voice vote Wednesday evening, the House of Representatives agreed to the Senate's two-month extension of FAA programs, including AIP. The extension pushed the deadline for a new FAA bill to May 31. The leadership of both chambers of Congress have stated their intention to bring a bill up by May, but the two bills differ on many issues, and lawmakers will have to compromise before they can send a bill to the President for his signature.
Sen. Inhofe Introduces "Hoover Bill"
Legislation Would Protect Pilots in Emergency Cases
Mar. 26, 1999 — Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) has introduced the "Hoover Bill" to allow pilots to swiftly appeal the emergency nature of certificate actions to the NTSB.
Sen. Inhofe intends to offer the legislation on the Senate floor as an amendment to S. 82, the Senate's FAA reauthorization bill. He introduced the emergency certificate bill as free-standing legislation (S. 722) to promote awareness of the issue and build support. S. 82 is expected to reach the Senate floor by mid-May.
Phil Boyer has called on pilots in key states to contact their senators and urge them to vote for Inhofe's amendment to S. 98. Hundreds have responded so far. The issue is still active, and all pilots are encouraged to contact both of their senators. See the call to action and AOPA's issue brief on the Inhofe Amendment for more information.
Two-Month Extension of FAA Authorization in the Works
Action Will Ease Pressure on Long-Term Bill
Mar. 18, 1999 — By unanimous vote, the Senate passed a bill yesterday to extend by two more months the FAA's authority to operate and spend money. Without the extension (S. 643), the current authorization law would expire March 31. The House of Representatives had passed a six-month extension, but it is expected to agree to the Senate proposal.
The extension gives lawmakers some breathing room to work out a multi-year FAA bill. Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (Miss.) has agreed to bring to the floor the Senate's multi-year bill (S. 98) by May. Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), an AOPA member, plans to offer an amendment to S. 98 to give pilots whose certificates are suspended or revoked by the FAA the right to appeal the emergency nature of the action to the NTSB within seven days. Sen. Inhofe's amendment is also known as the Hoover bill, after aerobatic pilot Bob Hoover and his struggle to regain his ticket. AOPA is working in support of Sen. Inhofe's amendment with the help of pilots.
When House and Senate negotiators sat down last year to create a compromise multi-year FAA bill, the bill died in a dispute over expanding airline service at the nation's four busiest airports. Congress was forced to pass a short-term extension through March 31. Compromise over the airline service issue is more likely this year.
Shuster Pushes Through Bill to Unlock Trust Fund
FAA Legislation Faces March 31 Deadline
Mar. 15, 1999 — Led by its powerful chairman, Bud Shuster (R-Pa.), the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee moved swiftly this week to send his FAA reauthorization legislation (H.R. 1000), known as "AIR-21," to the House floor.
Shuster's bill would reauthorize FAA programs, including the Airport Improvement Program (AIP) and unlock the Airport and Airway Trust Fund to allow spending to match receipts. The FAA's current authorization expires March 31, and with it the authority to spend half the record $1.95 billion Congress allocated to AIP for this year.
The chairman's bill is cosponsored by the committee's ranking Democrat, James Oberstar (Minn.), and enjoys broad support among members of both parties on the T&I Committee. But the bill will face close scrutiny as Congress struggles with broader budget issues. H.R. 1000 would unlock the aviation trust fund and double the current level of aviation spending over five years, including $5 billion a year for AIP.
Once through the gauntlet on the House floor, House and Senate negotiators would meet to craft a compromise bill. The Senate is expected to consider its FAA bill (S. 82) before Congress go into recess March 27. The two chambers failed to reach agreement over an FAA bill last year, causing Congress to pass the short-term extension that expires at the end of the month. Negotiations broke down when Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) insisted on additional airline flights at the nation's four slot-controlled airports, which the House rejected. H.R. 1000 would relax slot restrictions, signaling a likely compromise with the Senate this year.
AOPA is closely monitoring this legislation as it works its way through Congress.
AOPA Urges Congress to Protect Small Airports
Phil Boyer Introduces Airport Support Network
Feb. 12, 1999 — Phil Boyer told the House aviation subcommittee Wednesday that action is needed to protect small airports, and AOPA is doing its part.
"Airports are a precious national resource, and AOPA is working full-force to save them," Boyer told the panel. "The Airport Support Network is general aviation's early warning system and outreach program for the benefit of airports and their communities."
Boyer aired excerpts from the ASN videotape at the hearing, and AOPA is sending a complete copy to every subcommittee member.
Subcommittee members were disturbed to learn that small public-use airports are closing at the rate of one a week. Boyer said reversing that trend requires more than new investment in airport infrastructure — it requires enforcement of grant assurances airport sponsors make in exchange for federal Airport Improvement Program funds.
"AOPA believes that beyond funding, Congress should also concentrate on protecting and enhancing the federal investment in our national airport system as an essential component in the economy," he said. "The FAA must be as vigilant over taxpayer dollars as they are in enforcing certification and safety regulations."
Click here for the complete testimony.
Senate Committee Passes FAA Reauthorization Bills
Showdown Set in Shadow of March 31 Deadline
Feb. 12, 1999 — The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee marked up and approved its version of a bill reauthorizing FAA programs Thursday. The House passed its version of the bill, H.R. 99, on February 3. Lawmakers are operating under a tight deadline — the FAA's current reauthorization, which Congress extended last year after it failed to pass a multi-year bill, expires March 31.
The dispute that derailed last year's bill could flare up again. Negotiations fell apart when Senate Commerce Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) refused to drop his plan to open the nation's four busiest airports to new flights, which the House opposed. McCain is still pushing his airline competition plan, but both sides may be more willing to compromise under deadline pressure.
Under the temporary bill that expires at the end of March, the FAA is allowed to commit to airports only half of the $1.95 billion in Airport Improvement Program funds Congress appropriated last year. The stakes are high for airports as the summer construction season approaches.
AOPA has worked closely with lawmakers in both the House and Senate to assure that general aviation interests are protected and AIP funds are released on time.
Same Old Story from the Clinton Budget
Administration Requests $7 Billion in User Fees, 18-Percent AIP Cut
Feb. 2, 1999 — As we predicted last week on AOPA Online, the Clinton administration is asking Congress to allow the FAA to charge pilots and airlines user fees. The Clinton budget, released Feb. 1, would also cut Airport Improvement Program grants.
"For the third year in a row, this administration is trying to milk general aviation pilots to pay for the laundry list of special projects the President promised in his State of the Union address," said Phil Boyer. "It won't fly."
For the complete budget, go to http://www.gpoaccess.gov/usbudget/.
Highlights of the Clinton budget request:
- Charge pilots and airlines $7 billion in new FAA user fees over five years, beginning in 2000, and convert current aviation excise taxes to user fees.
- Cut AIP to $1.6 billion from the FY99 level of $1.95 billion.
- Pay for all of FAA's expenses from the Airport and Airway Trust Fund by eliminating the portion of FAA's budget financed by general tax revenues.
- Convert the FAA to a "performance-based organization" (PBO).
- Increase overall FAA spending on operations, facilities & equipment, research, and AIP by six percent:
Chairman Shuster Signals Compromise on Trust Fund Bill
FAA Reforms, Airline Competition on Negotiating Table
Jan. 28, 1999 — At a speech before the Washington Aero Club this week, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bud Shuster (R-Pa.) expressed a desire for compromise rather than confrontation in his bid to unlock the money in the Airport and Airway Trust Fund.
Rep. Shuster told club members he is open to considering controversial legislation to improve airline competition at airline hub airports as part of the package. A dispute over airline competition derailed last year's FAA reauthorization bill when Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) insisted on expanding competition at the nation's four busiest airports.
Selling the FAA to a private company is unacceptable, said Rep. Shuster, but making the FAA an independent agency by separating it from the Department of Transportation — a move supported by AOPA — "is something that's on the table." Rep. Shuster's trust fund initiative is likely to be wrapped into a new FAA reauthorization bill; the stop-gap FAA bill Congress passed last year expires March 31.
Rep. Shuster declared 1999 the "year of aviation" following his success last year in getting special budget treatment for the massive Highway Trust Fund to allow revenue flowing into the trust fund to be spent promptly for roads. Rep. Shuster, along with the Democratic leaders of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, are seeking a similar treatment for the Airport and Airway Trust Fund. The aviation trust fund receives its revenue from aviation excise taxes, including general fuel taxes, but limits on federal spending make it difficult to spend the money, causing its surplus to grow.
Citing a U.S. General Accounting Office study, the airport and airway system's requirements for operations, infrastructure, and modernization total $10 billion a year, but only $7 billion is spent, while the aviation trust fund balance continues to climb. To make up the shortfall, said Rep. Shuster, "We don't need to raise taxes...we need to unlock the trust fund."
Nevertheless, the Clinton administration is likely to once again call for charging user fees for FAA services in the budget request it releases Monday, Feb. 1. Considering the laundry list of new spending the President promised in his State of the Union address, and the limits on spending imposed by the current balanced-budget agreement, it is difficult to see how the President's budget wouldn't again resort to FAA user fees as a cash cow.
Senate Aviation Leader Gives FAA Bill Thumbs Down
McCain to Push for Multi-Year Bill
Jan. 15, 1999 — Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) has thrown cold water on a speedy extension of funding authority for the Airport Improvement Program.
The day after the new session of Congress opened, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee sent a bill to the House floor to allow use of the remaining $950 million in AIP grants Congress allocated for FY99. Without the extension, the spending authority will lapse March 31 under a temporary measure enacted last year after the House and Senate failed to find common ground on a multi-year bill.
The dispute that brought down last year's bill was the same that threatens to gridlock the FAA bill again — Sen. McCain's insistence on adding more flights at the nation's four busiest airports. The Chairman of Transportation and Infrastructure Bud Shuster (R-Pa.) agreed to nearly all the Senate's provisions in last year's negotiations, but McCain refused to clear the bill without the airline provisions.
This year, Shuster wants to extend AIP authority through FY99, which ends September 30, and then consider the airline provisions as part of a multi-year FAA reauthorization later this year. Shuster might add his proposal to unlock the chronic surpluses in the Airport and Airway Trust Fund to that comprehensive bill.
However, McCain wants to address the airline provisions in a multi-year FAA reauthorization bill now rather than passing Shuster's quick fix. "In my wildest imagination, I could not imagine such a scenario," said McCain.
Transportation Chairman Introduces Bill to Unlock Aviation Trust Fund
Committee Moves to Extend AIP Funding Authority
Jan. 6, 1999 — Today, as the House of Representatives swore in new members and a new Speaker, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bud Shuster (R-Pa.) introduced a bill to unlock the money in the Airport and Airway Trust Fund.
Chairman Shuster's bill would assure that the funds that go into the trust fund, which come from excise taxes on airline passengers, cargo, and the fuel taxes general aviation pilots pay, would be spent promptly for aviation needs. The committee's senior Democrat, James Oberstar, co-sponsored the bill, which has not been assigned a bill number.
A cap on total government spending constrains the ability of Congress to spend the money in the trust fund, even though it is intended by law for aviation purposes only. As a result, multi-billion-dollar surpluses are building up in the trust fund. The Office of Management and Budget estimates that the unused balance will top $9 billion at the end of 1999.
Shuster and Oberstar also introduced a bill to reauthorize the FAA and the Airport Improvement Program (AIP) through the end of FY99, which ends September 30. Congress failed to pass an FAA reauthorization last year due to an impasse over a Senate proposal to increase the number of landing slots at the nation's four busiest airports. Instead, Congress passed a temporary extension, but it will expire March 30. Unless Congress acts to extend the authorization, the FAA will lose its authority to promise AIP funds to airports, and new construction projects will stall.
Congress Gears Up for "Year of Aviation"
AOPA Legislative Action Readies 1999 Trust Fund Initiative
Dec. 4, 1999 — Bud Shuster, chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, is considering introducing legislation to unlock the Airport and Airway Trust Fund as early as the opening day of the 106th Congress, January 6. Rep. Shuster's bill would ensure that the taxes paid into the trust fund by general aviation and the flying public are spent promptly for aviation purposes, rather than sitting unused.
Shuster's bill will follow a similar treatment enacted this year for the Highway Trust Fund, which is fed by automobile fuel taxes. After his committee passed this legislation, Shuster declared 1999 the "Year of Aviation" and pledged to deal with the growing surplus in aviation's trust fund. The idea is supported by many Democrats on the T&I Committee, including its highest-ranking Democrat, James Oberstar (Minn.).
AOPA Legislative Action strongly supports Shuster's initiative and will work hard for its passage with the assistance of AOPA members nationwide.
Government and Political Links
Thomas. The Library of Congress source for detailed information on congressional bills, votes, and members. Includes searchable full text of the Congressional Record, bills, and committee reports.
Roll Call. The newspaper covering "people, politics, and process" on Capitol Hill since 1955.
Federal Election Commission. The FEC collects and makes public federal financial disclosure reports and enforces campaign spending laws.
Other Congressional Sessions:
- 113th Congress, First Session
- 112th Congress, Second Session
- 112th Congress, First Session
- 111th Congress, Second Session
- 111th Congress, First Session
- 110th Congress, Second Session
- 110th Congress, First Session
- 109th Congress, Second Session
- 109th Congress, First Session
- 108th Congress, Second Session
- 108th Congress, First Session
- 107th Congress, Second Session
- 107th Congress, First Session
- 106th Congress, Second Session
- 106th Congress, First Session
- 105th Congress