AOPA member Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.) yesterday introduced legislation, S.2007, to provide economic relief to those general aviation businesses that received substantial economic injury as a result of the terrorist attacks of September 11.
"The introduction of Senator Inhofe's bill proves that GA relief is not a dead issue for Congress," says AOPA President Phil Boyer. "We've pledged our support to both Senator Inhofe and to Representative Mica, who authored the House version of this bill, and will help in any way to get this long-overdue legislation passed."
In his statement on the Senate floor yesterday, Sen. Inhofe said, "General Aviation, a very important segment of the aviation industry, has yet to be made whole for actions taken by the federal government following the terrorist attacks of September 11th." He further stated that, "Working closely with general aviation groups such as the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, AOPA, which has worked hard to explain the scope of general aviation to members of Congress and how critical it is to the nation, I think we have a very balanced package."
Identical in language and content to House aviation subcommittee Chairman John Mica's (R-Fla.) GA relief bill, H.R.3347, Sen. Inhofe's bill, S.2007, provides $2.5 billion in direct grants and $3 billion in federal loan guarantees to those in the general aviation industry who have suffered severe economic injury as a result of the terrorist attacks. The loan guarantees would be authorized from the unused portion of the $10 billion in loan guarantees provided through last September's $15 billion airline bailout law (PL 107-42). The legislation gives the President the power to give priority for compensation to a general aviation business based upon the length of time that business has been unable to operate since September 11. The Air Transportation Stabilization Board (created in PL 107-42) would administer the loan guarantees. In addition, the measure compensates laid-off general aviation workers for lost wages and health-care costs.
GA relief legislation gained momentum on Feb. 27 when the House Transportation and Infrastructure passed Chairman Mica's legislation, as amended. The House bill now heads to the House floor where it will be debated and voted on. Senator Inhofe's bill has been referred to the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, where it will be debated and voted on before it goes to the Senate floor for a vote.