Thune, Shuster, LoBiondo Critical of Administration’s Stance on Sequestration Impacts on Aviation

February 22, 2013

WASHINGTON, D.C.— Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation Ranking Member John Thune (R-SD), House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA), and House Subcommittee on Aviation Chairman Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ) released the following statements in response to the administration’s announcement regarding sequestration’s impact on the Federal Aviation Administration and U.S. aviation:

“We are disappointed by the administration creating alarm about sequestration’s impact on aviation. Before jumping to the conclusion that furloughs must be implemented, the administration and the agency need to sharpen their pencils and consider all the options. Prematurely outlining the potential impacts before identifying other savings is not helpful.

“Congress has been requesting information from the FAA since August, but nothing was provided, and today’s exaggerations are not backed up by any real financial data.

“The agency is well positioned to absorb spending reductions without compromising the safety or efficiency of the National Airspace System.”

Although the United States continues to see a contracted airline industry, the FAA has received significant funding increases in recent years. While domestic flights are down 27 percent from pre-9/11 levels, over the last 10 years the FAA’s annual budget has increased almost $3 billion, or 41 percent, in its Operations account. Each year, the agency spends approximately $500 million on consultants and $200 million on supplies and travel.