2020 Election and Aviation
All Candidates should listen to your issues
Tools and Examples of Pending Bills
It is the time of year when you are called upon to exercise your Constitutional right to elect your Member of the House of Representatives, possibly a Senator and the President of the United States. Aviation, for good and for bad, attracts a lot of political attention, witness the 2,515 bills, resolution and other Congressional actions (link) with FAA in the subject . Use the link to see what, if any, Incumbent has introduced (just add the member’s name and hit the search button (the cover is a reproduction of one search machine).
Below is a selection of aviation bills that are pending, some with associated articles, many with just the bill text (try to read if you are having trouble sleeping). The track record is that about 3% of bills introduced are passed, but it is still instructive to review what these legislators are considering.
Well before you prepare to mark your ballot (or whatever electronic system you have) and if your incumbent Candidate has put an aviation bill in the hopper, call her or his office (Senate 202-224-3122 switchboard or House directory ) and ask for the Member’s position from the legislative aide who covers aviation (it is a rare Member who answers phone calls). If you like the bill tell the staffer, make it clear how important it is. If you are opposed to the bill being sponsored by your elected federal official, that his/her position may cause you to vote for the opponent.
Winnowing down the 2,515 proposals to the roughly 75 proposals to be enacted is primarily the work of the above four Committees, two for each body.
The House Transportation & Infrastructure Aviation Subcommittee is a very active body holding many hearings and its leadership is known for quickly stating their positions on all aviation issues being covered by the media. If your Representative is on this Committee (check the above link), you derivatively have a bigger voice on aviation issues than many of your peers; make sure to contact your Representative and make sure that the Candidate KNOWS your position on big aviation issues.
Appropriations technically is limited to setting the dollars which the FAA may spend. The Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Subcommittee has been disciplined in limiting the language to the funding, but has rarely added a mandate to “do this by then.” A Member on the full and/or sub committee can be useful in assuring that the “right” aviation policy is enacted; so, if your Representative sits here, let the local office know of your vocation, expertise and legislative priorities.
The Senate, described by President James Buchanan and recently reaffirmed by Justice Roberts, to be the world’s “greatest deliberative body,” has a history of being the less voluble than the House. Not clear with the current uber partisan climate whether that description is still apt. From an election standpoint 35 Senate races will be voted on November 3rd. Use the link to see if your Senator’s seat is subject to the ballot; again, use that to convey your aeropolitical interests to both the incumbent (if any) and other candidate(s).
The Subcommittee on Aviation and Space has active leadership and has held more hearings than in the past. Distinct from the authorizing on the other side of the Hill, this body has the power of Advice and Consent over the Presidential Appointments of the DOT Secretary, FAA Administrator and the NTSB Members. That process tends to create relations with those who are confirmed.
The Senate Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies like its sister House Subcommittee is technically limited to setting spending, but also has dabbled with “appropriating” language which authorizes, too. Its staff is renowned for attention of budgetary details.
Here is a sampling of the bills which these players will try to vote on. REMEMBER it’s an election year and the #1, #2, #3 priorities of incumbents are to be reelected. That means (i) as the calendar moves towards Fall, the days in Washington diminish and (ii) GOOD NEWS: they are more likely to be receptive to their constituents. EXERCISE YOUR RIGHT TO VOTE THROUGH YOUR AVIATION SAFETY PERSPECTIVE.
The aviation Bills:
Democratic senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut), Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts), and Tom Udall (D-New Mexico)
S.3337 – Restoring Aviation Accountability Act of 2020
U.S. Sens. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.),
S.3360 – A bill to Establish the National Center for the Advancement of Aviation
H.R.6168 – Aviation-Impacted Communities Act
H.R.4087 — Protecting Airport Communities from Particle Emissions Rep. Adam Smith
S.2249 —A bill to allow the Deputy Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration on the date of enactment of this Act to continue to serve as such Deputy Administrator.Sponsor: Sen. Wicker, Roger F. [R-MS]
S.J.Res.62 — A joint resolution disapproving the recommendation of the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration to realign Binghamton, NY (BGM) TRACON operations and Elmira, NY (ELM) TRACON operations to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, PA (AVP) TRACON. Sponsor: Sen. Gillibrand, Kirsten E. [D-NY]
Sponsors Representatives Rick Larsen (D-Washington), Sharice Davids (D-Kansas) and Rep. Kim Schrier (D-Washington),
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