Rockefeller Decries Partisan Assault on America's Aviation System

July 19, 2011

Chairman Rockefeller asks Sec. Locke questions about strengthening manufacturing in America.WASHINGTON, D.C.—Chairman John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV today said he is working to strip a provision in the House FAA extension that hurts small communities nationwide. Rockefeller reiterated that the House proposed extension cannot pass the Senate leaving open the possibility for a partial agency shutdown if House Republican leaders do not reconsider their position.

“Further efforts to add policy components to FAA extensions that have not been negotiated with the Senate will likely shut the FAA down,” Rockefeller wrote in a letter to Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.), Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. “You need to think about this very, very carefully. Any consequences resulting from such an action will fall squarely on your shoulders.”

Despite efforts to find a bipartisan compromise, Mica last week announced a plan to cut funds for 13 communities that benefit from Essential Air Service (EAS) as retaliation for the Senate’s refusal to accept language on the National Mediation Board that would adversely affect workers’ rights. Rockefeller has long championed the EAS program, which provides a federal subsidy for air carriers to operate out of mostly rural areas. Without this important program, many communities nationwide would not have air service. EAS supports air service to more than 100 communities nationwide.

In his letter to Mica, Chairman Rockefeller strongly urged him to reconsider his position by sending over a clean FAA extension and appoint conferees for the FAA reauthorization bill, as the Senate did in April, 2011.