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:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    Download
  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

    Download
  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

    Download
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    Download
  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.

    Download

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