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The FAA Job Loss Bill

House Republicans passed the GOP FAA Reauthorization and Reform Act (H.R. 658) on April 1st by a vote of 223-196.  The bill will destroy 70,000 American jobs, with $4 billion in cuts that will have dire consequences for our Nation's infrastructure, jobs, and economy.  The aviation industry accounts for nearly 11 million American jobs, and $1.2 trillion in annual economic activity. 

The bill also continues the Republican assault on collective bargaining rights by repealing a National Mediation Board (NMB) rule, finalized last year, which guarantees fair elections among workers when those workers are choosing whether or not to unionize.

This partisan bill:

  • Authorizes the Federal Aviation Administration for four-years (FY 2011-14), reducing investment to FY 2008 levels ($14.8 billion per year) - for a $4 billion cut from current levels.  In Fiscal Year 2010, the Federal Aviation Administration's major programs were funded at approximately $15.8 billion.
    • These cuts would have dire consequences for the Nation's infrastructure, jobs and the economy. Every $1 billion of Federal investment in infrastructure creates or sustains approximately 35,000 jobs.
    • These cuts would devastate the FAA's Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) air traffic control modernization effort, and would harm safety-sensitive programs, while ignoring the Nation's growing airport capital development needs.
    • The FAA Administrator under President George W. Bush, Marion Blakey, stated that 'the prospect is really devastating to jobs and to our future, if we really have to roll back [to 2008 levels] and stop NextGen in its tracks.'
  • Cuts the Airport Improvement Program (AIP) grants for runway maintenance and safety enhancements by almost $2 billion, costing us 70,000 jobs -- especially hurting small airports. The Senate measure passed with a bipartisan majority adds tens of thousands of jobs.  See state cuts in airport improvement grants\xc2\xbb   
  • Cuts in the bill, according to the FAA, would also lead to a reduction in safety personnel and delay important air safety initiatives - a bad choice for the flying public as highlighted by the recent Reagan National incident.
  • Eliminates Essential Air Service for 110 rural communities needed to connect them with global commerce, support local jobs, and spur economic growth. The EAS program, created as part of the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978, distributes Federal subsidies to air carriers for providing air service to and from selected small communities that would not, absent the subsidies, receive service.
    • This service is necessary to link small communities to the larger system of commerce and, in the process, to create and sustain local jobs. 
    • In FY 2010, the EAS program received $200 million, and 155 rural communities (including 110 in the lower 48 states) received a subsidy. Under the bill, after 2013, EAS for the 110 communities in the lower 48 states would be eliminated. Between 2011 and 2013, the bill progressively reduces EAS program funding.
    • See communities impacted\xc2\xbb
  • Extends the assault on American workers, collective bargaining, and the middle class to workers in the aviation and railroad sectors-the bill overturns a rule for union elections, which as with other elections, calls for a majority of votes cast to win.
    • Under the current rule (which the bill would repeal), when determining whether a majority of workers want to join a union, the NMB must count only the ballots of workers who voted in the representation election, and will no longer count non-votes as votes against unionization. Reps. LaTourette and Costello are offering an amendment to strike this provision, supported by the Transportation Trades Department of the AFL-CIO, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace, AFL-CIO, United Steelworkers, and UAW.
    • The Obama Administration opposes this provision and according to the OMB Statement of Policy, 'If the President is presented with a bill that would not safeguard the ability of railroad and airline workers to decide whether or not they would be represented by a union based upon a majority of the ballots cast in an election or that would degrade safe and efficient air traffic, his senior advisers would recommend that he veto the bill.'