U.S. Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John D. Rockefeller IV on Monday called on top U.S. House Republicans to convene a conference committee by Wednesday on a bill to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration.
The House adjourned Friday without voting on the 21st extension of the FAA authorization, forcing the FAA to furlough 4,000 employees and stall $2.5 billion in airport improvement work.
Rockefeller called on House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica, R-Fla., to convene the committee, but Mica shot back that the Senate needed to first agree on the provision to cut rural air subsidies.
“I was appalled that the House went through on its dangerous threats last week to hold the entire FAA bill hostage to their politics,” Rockefeller said. “This issue is too serious for a stalemate because the House leadership is insisting on a provision pushed primarily by Delta Airlines to benefit their anti-worker agenda.”
The House added a provision to the FAA extension that would curtail subsidies for a handful of rural airports under the Essential Air Service program. Rockefeller said that the Senate already rejected the idea, and that President Obama would veto it.
"If the Senate cannot agree to a simple provision, which it approved earlier this year, to eliminate excessive subsidies between $1,358 and $3,720 per ticket at three airports, then we don't need to convene a conference meeting," Mica said.
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