What affect will Super Committee failure have on GA?

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Politics in Washington, normally baffling, is even more so now that the Super Committee has failed to reach an agreement on funding with a highly contested election approaching and the nation facing a massive $15 trillion debt.

When the Super Committee was formed, Congress included in the bill a provision that if the committee failed to reach an agreement by Nov. 21, an automatic $1.2 trillion in spending cuts would start in 2013. About half of these cuts would come from defense and entitlements.

But when you talk in the trillions, that still leaves substantial cuts to come from other government activities, including aviation. Will Congress move to change those automatic cuts or will those mandated reductions take effect? Expectations here are that Congress will change the mandated cuts. In fact, Congress started to undo its own automatic cuts plan even before the failure of the Super Committee was announced.

Whichever way lawmakers go, aviation funding will be one of many issues of contention. FAA reauthorization still must be ironed out before the 22nd short-term authorization runs out in January. NextGen needs definite funding. Airport development will be under scrutiny. Air traffic controller numbers may have to be reduced.

Congressman John Mica (R-Fla.) says savings could be made now in one matter affecting aviation. He recently released a report on the Transportation Security Administration, compiled by the staff of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. The report was issued on the 10th anniversary of creating TSA after terrorist attacks on New York’s World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the thwarted attack by the aircraft forced to crash in Pennsylvania.

Mica said the report shows TSA “has strayed from its security mission and mushroomed into a top bureaucracy that includes 3,986 headquarters staff, making $103,852 per year on average, and 9,656 administrators in the field. TSA has 65,000 employees.”

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Cal.), who chairs the Oversight and Government Committee, said the TSA was envisioned and sold to the American people as a protective agency that would strategically employ the latest technology and cutting-edge tactics to protect travelers. “Despite these high ambitions,” he added, “the agency has become a backwards-looking dinosaur that seeks employees through pizza box advertising and struggles to detect actual terrorist threats.” Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.) said, “Americans have spent nearly $60 billion funding TSA, and they are no safer today than they were before 9/11.”

TSA is one of 21 agencies in the Department of Homeland Security and turnovers in the top post of TSA administrator have been excessive.

Mica said he wants a leaner TSA. “While we are safer today than we were 10 years ago, this is largely due to the vigilance of American citizens and passengers,” he noted.

General aviation groups have been active in developing and implementing programs to maintain security at GA airports, such as the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association’s Airport Watch program.

Charles Spence is General Aviation News’ Washington, D.C., correspondent.


  1. says

    Our money should go toward education, enhancing the infrastructure, and funding the FAA to promote safety.  Investing in the agencies that are already in place makes the most sense to me.   

  2. Anonymous says

    A “leaner” TSA would be a start. No TSA would be better.

    “Helping the economy” is not accomplished through wasting the money some productive person has to actually earn.

  3. DisgustedfromTX says

    The TSA has taken advantage of “The Sky is Falling” scenario that they and the government, during the Bush administration, used to put fear into Americans. Still, even tho this disgusts me too, it “has” created many jobs for the general public. The almost 4,000 headquarters staff is quite excessive considering that makes 1 staff member for every 16 TSA employees. If a REAL company had this kind of staff to employee ratio, they’d go broke in short order, especially making over 100 grand a year. Where can I sign up for this job?

    • Retman says

      I’m a X employee of the TSA. The democratics originated the TSA and pushed for it exsistance. George W just did not vedo the bill.

      Where I worked, we had 1 Manager for every 9 uniformed agents. It should have been 1 Manager for every 30 uniformed agents. We had a lot of trouble getting any manager to the floor, they spent most of their time in the office talking about their careers in the military.

      Get rid of the TSA, they are costing the tax buyers way to much. The private sector could do much better for less money.

  4. DisgustedfromTX says

    Yes, the super committee controlled by Republicans who say so loudly that they don’t want more cuts to the military but with their inaction almost guarantees cuts. They say NO to any plan to help the economy even if it was once their own. Maybe not treasonous but certainly un-American to want the economy to tank just so they can have a chance at winning the next election. Pitiful support of the once America dream.

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