WASHINGTON, D.C. — The president’s 2013 budget plan to charge $100 per flight to aircraft using controlled airspace was never expected to be adopted and it got another major setback when 195 bipartisan members of the House of Representatives sent Obama a letter opposing the fee.
“The letter is another clear example that user fees are a non-starter in Congress,” said Rep. Jerry Costello (D-Ill.), ranking member of the House aviation subcommittee. “Particularly given that the FAA Reauthorization bill has been signed into law, there is no need to continue to discuss this bad idea.”
Washington watchers cannot understand how the president could sign the reauthorization bill and at the same time propose a new and unpopular fee.
Rep. Tom Petri (R-Wis.), chairman of the subcommittee, noted that “almost half of the House members signed the bill and there would be no difficulty getting a majority if Obama’s proposal was ever advanced to the full House, which it won’t.”
Costello, Petri, and Reps. Sam Graves (R-Mo.) and John Barrow (D-Ga.), co-chairs of the House General Aviation Caucus, wrote the letter. The House has been active on budgets but no action has been taken by the Senate.
Aviation groups aided in developing support for the letter by getting their members to contact members of Congress and express why the fee is an impractical and costly idea. On this subject general aviation groups and the scheduled airlines are on the same page.
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