Lott’s Resignation Seen as Loss to GA Interests
Sen. Trent Lott (R. Miss.), the ranking Republican on the Senate aviation subcommittee, abruptly announced yesterday that he plans to resign next month to enter the private sector. Lott, an early advocate of user fees for general aviation, is widely seen as a supporter of GA whose “political push” is always a force to be reckoned with. By leaving before year-end, he will be eligible to lobby the Senate by January 2009. Under new Senate rules, Lott would be prohibited from directly lobbying his old colleagues for two years if he departs after this session of Congress adjourns next month. Lott and Sen. John Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) co-authored S.1300, the Senate’s FAA reauthorization bill, which contains a $25 per-flight fee for turbine IFR operations. Both senators have demanded that business aircraft operators pay more toward ATC modernization. “It’s a bit of a loss,” said National Air Transportation Association v-p of government and industry affairs Eric Byer. “He has certainly been an advocate for GA and a strong supporter of NATA.” Meanwhile, S.1300 remains viable as a bill until Dec. 31, 2008, despite Lott’s departure.