When the 113th Congress commenced last month, Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) was officially confirmed as chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee. One of the largest committees in Congress, T&I currently has jurisdiction over all modes of transportation: aviation, maritime and waterborne transportation, roads, mass transit and railroads.
111th United States Congress
When Florida congressman John Mica decided not to challenge Republican term limits on chairmanships, it set the stage for Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) to take the controls of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
With Europe set to begin cap-and-trade of aviation emissions in 2012, and Congress working on legislation that would cap the greenhouse gases that have been linked to global warming, Conklin & de Decker cofounder and president Bill de Decker is sounding the alarm for just how seriously the plans could affect business aviation.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee’s draft of the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (Aces) creates greenhouse gas emission standards for aircraft and aircraft engines.
General aviation groups pled-ged to work with the Obama Administration when it takes the reins of the federal government early next year, but in the days following the election there was much speculation about how things would shake out on Capitol Hill, in the Transportation Department and in the FAA.
• When the dog days of August arrived, Congress adjourned for five weeks, leaving a number of major bills hanging fire. Among them were legislation aimed at resolving energy problems. After the House voted to adjourn, a group of feisty Republicans stayed on the floor–no microphones and dimmed lights–and demanded that Democratic leaders come back and take action on energy legislation. Democrats declined.
As the first session of the 107th Congress wound down, the wonderful days of bipartisan behavior that followed September 11 gave way to partisan bickering over what the country needed by way of legislation. Democrat leadership in the Senate lacked the inclination to press forward on bills related to economic stimulus, defense spending and energy and turned the Senate’s attention to a railroad pension bill and a farm bill.
What with anthrax scares shutting down congressional office buildings for purification and cleansing, and both houses tossing brickbats at each other over precautionary measures, legislators scrambled for space and time to maintain some semblance of normalcy. Some 10 government agency appropriations bills stalled and were not enacted to start the new fiscal year on October 1.
Observing the 107th Congress could sometimes be likened to watching a three-ring circus. There was the House of Representatives in one outside ring and the Senate on the other side, with the Administration or the White House in the center ring.
When Congress perceives public or political demands to do something, the House and Senate can act with uncharacteristic speed. For example, take the legislation that would curb and curtail corporate conniving and chicanery that raced through legislative processes, was passed by both houses and handed for signature by President Bush in near record time. If only some desirable aviation bills had the same priority.