AOPA continues efforts to change 'warbird' legislation
AOPA's Legislative Affairs staff is continuing to work with House-Senate conferees to remove the so-called "Warbird Provision" from the National Defense Authorization Act (S.1438/H.R.2586). That provision, if enacted, could result in the destruction of vintage military aircraft—destroying an important part of our nation's aviation history.
According to congressional sources, Senate Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) has been the lead on this provision. AOPA contacted Senator Levin's defense aide, who said it was not Senator Levin's intent to capture warbirds in this clause. Other Senate staffers have said they are hoping to have the provision completely stricken. AOPA will continue to work with the conferees on removing the provision.
In a letter to House-Senate conferees sent on October 11, AOPA President Phil Boyer requested the deletion of Section 1062 that authorizes the secretary of Defense to require demilitarization of significant military equipment, including aircraft formerly owned by the Department of the Defense. Last year, AOPA successfully worked toward deleting similar legislation.
House Armed Services Chairman and Defense Authorization Conferee Bob Stump (R-Ariz.) has vowed to save the warbirds. In response to Boyer's appeal, he responded by letter, saying that "[he] will do everything [he] can to have it stripped out again." Stump called the provision included in this year's bill "even worse than last year's, with language so broad as to jeopardize the private ownership of literally any and all military surplus equipment."
The House-Senate conference on the National Defense Authorization Act began on October 31. Conferees hope to wrap up the competing versions of their bills before Congress adjourns in December.
November 27, 2001