Senate Democrats say they can block FAA reauthorization

The Senate was scheduled to vote Monday afternoon on the conference committee report on legislation to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration, although Democrats maintained they had enough votes to sustain a filibuster by Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J.

Lautenberg has led Democrats in opposing the bill because he believes it allows President Bush to privatize air traffic controllers by executive order. "After repeated bipartisan attempts to work something out, the White House has been intransigent on this. Both Houses said no to privatization, yet the administration continues to demand authorization to move ahead with its scheme," said Lautenberg. "If we allow the White House to simply ignore the clear will of Congress on this safety and security issue, then this branch of government ceases to be relevant."

Lautenberg urged his fellow senators to defeat the cloture motion and pass a six-month extension of FAA programs so the issue can be further discussed.

Meanwhile, U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Donohue said Monday that the current wrangling over air tower privatization belies more fundamental problems plaguing the American airline industry. At a breakfast meeting with reporters, Donohue said the three most important issues facing air travel are the application of new security technologies, increasing employee productivity, and enhancing the safety of the system.

The two most effective means of dealing with those problems, Donohue said, are increasing efficiency in passenger security screening and re-evaluating the way U.S. industries treat undocumented immigrant workers, whom he said will make up an increasing percentage of America's baggage handlers and airport employees. Donohue said the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, might ultimately cost "three or four years" in terms of updating the U.S. air transit system. What is needed now is a paradigm shift in how airport screeners look at passengers, he said.

"You have to profile [passengers]. You have to do random checks. You have to get away from the attitude that everyone coming into an airport is a bad person," Donohue said.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.