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Tepid Senate response to administration's FAA funding bill

Tepid Senate response to administration's FAA funding bill

Significantly higher general aviation taxes and user fees don't seem to be sitting well with key members of the U.S. Senate.

Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, honoring a request from the president, introduced the administration's FAA funding bill "as a courtesy" on March 30.

While noting that the Next Generation Air Transportation System Financing Reform Act of 2007 was an "aggressive proposal" for FAA reauthorization, Inouye said, "I cannot support all portions of this bill� Specifically, I am troubled by the proposal to drastically increase the general aviation fuel tax and substantially cut the Airport Improvement Program (AIP) funding level."

The ranking Republican on the committee, Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) said, "I echo Sen. Inouye's concerns with the proposal."

Sen. Inouye said that he would work with the chairman of the Commerce aviation subcommittee, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.) and ranking subcommittee member Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) to develop a bipartisan FAA funding bill that could be brought to the full Senate.

AOPA has already met with Sen. Lott, and will meet with Sen. Rockefeller soon, to discuss alternatives to the administration's FAA funding proposal.

When the president wants Congress to consider a specific piece of legislation, he will ask the leaders of the appropriate committees to introduce it for him. The leaders generally honor the request as a courtesy to the president, but it doesn't necessarily mean they support the bill. The leadership of both the Senate Commerce Committee and the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee has stated clearly that they do not support all parts of the administration's proposal.

March 30, 2007

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