Senator Hutchison Applauds Senate, House Agreement on Long-term FAA Reauthorization

January 31, 2012

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, made the following statement today at the Senate and House Conference meeting on a long-term Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization bill:

“I will just say a couple of things. Everything has been said. We know this has been a hard bill because the last authorization passed was in 2007. Twenty-three extensions later we are finally, now, at a point where we’re going to have four years of stability in this industry. It is huge. It is a huge accomplishment.

“No one got everything they thought was important, but I do believe the way we came together preserved the major things we needed to do right. I am very pleased and I think the safety improvements and the improvements on the perimeter rule, which will be significant for the western Senators. I didn’t have a stake in that, but I really, really related to the people who were not able to have direct service from National and I think we came to a good conclusion there.

“Most certainly, I think, the NextGen can’t be done in six months or one-year extensions. That is a huge technological advance for our air-traffic control system to meet the standards for the rest of the world and we need a satellite based system and we would never be able to get a start on that without having this four years of stability and knowing it’s going to be an on-going process that is built in the proper way.

“I also believe the security improvements that we made are good. I think we will now have opportunities for the private-sector to be in airport security, but with the TSA having the final say, as they should, and I think we got a good compromise there.

“I cannot say enough good things about our staff and the leadership of the House and Senate Committees. I just want to mention on our side Jarrod Thompson, with whom I was talking with at ten o’clock last night. I was talking with you about nine o’clock and still continuing to have changes, even right up to this morning. Todd Bertoson and Richard Russell, who on our staff, overseeing and working with Jarrod. On your side, Gael Sullivan, Ellen Doneski, who’s fabulous; James Reid and Rich Swayze.

“Without the cooperation of our side’s staff, which are the ones I know, and always staying in touch with the House side’s staff, we were able to cobble this together over this long period of time and I do think we have done something significant for our economy and the jobs and the airports and the security of the traveling public and I am very proud to work with you, Mr. Chairman and our House counterparts.  I can’t say it’s been a joy, but it’s been a great experience that has come to such a great conclusion that the end result was worth all of the hard times in-between.

“Thank you.”

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