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Podcast: Congress Tells Administration – No More User Fees
March 18, 2013
Aviation user fees included in White House budgets have been rejected by Congress in the past, and that will be the case again, if they are included in the annual federal budget plan offered by the Obama administration this year. That is the essence of a letter to President Barack Obama now being circulated among lawmakers in the House of Representatives.
“Aviation user fees have been proposed in your last two budgets and Congress rejected them,” wrote leading members of the House Aviation Subcommittee and the House GA Caucus. “Aviation user fees have been proposed by different administrations, both Republican and Democrat and again, Congress has repeatedly and overwhelmingly rejected them.”
The letter points out that general and commercial aviation, along with the aviation manufacturing industry, are vital to the nation, providing millions of jobs and making essential contributions to the economy. “We should work together to support policies that encourage job growth and strengthen U.S. economic activity. Imposing a $100 per flight fee on commercial and general aviation is the wrong approach, and we respectfully abandon this idea once and for all,” the representatives wrote.
The letter appears above the signatures of House Aviation Subcommittee Chairman Frank LoBiondo (R-2-NJ) and the ranking member of the subcommittee, Rick Larsen (D-2-WA). It is also signed by General Aviation Caucus co-chairs Sam Graves (R-6-MO) and John Barrow (D-12-GA). Together, all four are urging their colleagues to sign the letter before it is sent to President Obama.
“Whenever we see an effort that brings people from both ends of the political spectrum together to say that they’re unified in a position, it’s a significant move that we should all pay attention to,” said NBAA Senior Vice President for Government Affairs Lisa Piccione. “It also clearly demonstrates that Members of Congress from all over the country recognize the importance of general aviation and are willing to be very vocal to ensure that we don’t have policies that penalize general aviation.”
The effort is not unprecedented on Capitol Hill. Last year, 195 members of Congress signed a similar letter opposing aviation user fees. Of those, 155 returned after the November elections.
As the authors of the letter continue their effort to gather signatures, Piccione said NBAA Members can greatly assist by contacting their own representatives in Washington and urging them to speak out against aviation user fees.
“I think with the extraordinary budget pressures that the Congress is facing, it’s important that all of us communicate with our elected officials,” she said.
Piccione pointed to a vital tool available to Members and non-members alike, enabling fast and easy communication with representatives in Washington through the NBAA website. The Contact Congress Resource is an extremely efficient means of communicating with lawmakers in Washington. It offers templates for delivering messages on a number of issues including a message of opposition to aviation user fees, and a separate message urging members of Congress to join the General Aviation Caucuses in the House and Senate. Each template is customizable, allowing the author to craft a personal message as well.
Contact Congress now asking them to oppose user fees for general aviation.
“The strongest voice with elected officials is the one that comes from back home,” said Piccione. “Elected officials want and need to hear from their constituents. So it’s extremely important that everyone in the community not only send their own letter, but reach out to others and encourage them to contact Congress as well.”