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Public Statements

Reducing Flight Delays Act of 2013

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. LATHAM. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, I come today with H.R. 1765, a bill to provide up to $253 million from the Airport Improvement Program--or any other account in the FAA--to the Operations Account. The purpose of this transfer authority is to restore reliable and safe service in the commercial air traffic system by reducing or eliminating employee furlough days.

I think we all agree the FAA and the administration has handled the sequester poorly. The FAA has negotiated in bad faith with the FAA employees, the airlines, the flying public, and the Congress. And the administration has played shameful politics with sequestration at the cost to hardworking American families. As I have often said, this is simply no way to run a government.

But the Congress is stepping in to correct the problems created by the administration's inaction. We're taking this step because of the gross mismanagement of this important function for the safety of all Americans who fly and on behalf of the commerce that depends on a reliable air system. We are taking this action to end the administration's political games that threaten our passenger rights and safety.

The fact that we're here today trying to solve this problem is as a result of the sequester. I remind you that the President brought the sequester to the table. And in an effort to avoid the arbitrary $1.2 trillion of cuts mandated by the Budget Control Act, twice the majority in this House has passed commonsense legislation that would have replaced the sequestration with targeted spending cuts of an equal dollar amount.

Unfortunately, the Senate never considered either of these bills, and thus the sequestration was triggered.

Further, this situation goes to show that we need to return to regular order and consider appropriation bills in their entirety and not rely on continuing resolutions to fund the government.

Under a CR, there is no way for us to prioritize cuts or protect programs related to the safety of the American public. It also goes to show that we must have a long-term, comprehensive solution to our budget challenges, one that solves the sequester and provides sustainability and stability in the Federal budget.

Mr. Speaker, I put the administration, the Secretary, and the agency on alert that we are watching. We have questions, and we want answers about how you're using these funds and how you're going to be managing the rest of our Department. Like I said at the FAA hearing this last Wednesday, the safety of our air space cannot be subject to political posturing.

Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. LATHAM. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

I want to associate myself with what my good friend and ranking member on the subcommittee, Mr. Pastor, just said. We've got to find a solution, come to an agreement. This is a horrible way to run a government, with sequester. When you take a meat-ax approach to departments, there's no common sense. And that's why we need to get back to regular order around here and actually do appropriations bills. We would avoid these types of potentially catastrophic situations that we find ourselves in.

Mr. Speaker, I would just ask everyone to understand that the Senate sent this over last night. It is now an H.R. bill, our bill. The Senate will approve it as soon as we pass it in the House here. It is very important that we do this for the American people, the traveling public, for safety of the system, to make sure that our commerce continues. So I would ask everyone to support this bill.

And let's fix the big problem, and that's come to a budget agreement.

I yield back the balance of my time.

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