Anticipating the end of the U.S. government’s 2013 Fiscal Year on September 30, nearly a dozen aviation organizations sent a joint letter late last week to House and Senate Appropriations Committee leaders asking them to provide continued funding in FY2014 for the 149 contract air traffic control towers at risk of closure under sequestration cuts.
Limited funding for the Lockheed Martin/AgustaWestland VH-71 presidential helicopter, which is based on the three-engine AgustaWestland AW101, has made it into the final FY2010 U.S. defense appropriations bill (H.R. 3326), reviving the machine’s chances of one day flying the President. At the direction of Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, the Pentagon terminated the program on May 15 last year.
With little fanfare on Saturday, the Senate approved and President Obama subsequently signed the final FY2010 U.S. defense appropriations bill. The $636.3 billion bill includes limited funding for the Lockheed Martin/AgustaWestland VH-71 presidential helicopter, which is based on the triple-engine AgustaWestland AW101.
Not unlike the way the Philadelphia Phillies’ chances of winning this year’s World Series decreased substantially on Sunday when they lost game four to the New York Yankees, the Lockheed Martin/AgustaWestland VH-71 presidential helicopter’s chances of receiving funding in this year’s defense appropriations bill diminished considerably yesterday when Congressman John Murtha (D-Pa.) apparently removed his support of the program.
Come fall, the U.S. Congress will decide the fate of loran and its successor eLoran when members of the Congressional House and Senate Appropriations Committees meet in conference to determine which of their respective favored projects will live on and which will not.
President Barack Obama charged into his presidency full of enthusiasm for plans to staff his cabinet with worthies, stimulate the economy, revise fiscal policies and eliminate wasteful government spending through earmarked amendments. Spending watchdogs noted that in the first presidential debate Obama said, “We need earmark reform, and when I am President I will go line by line to make sure that we are not spending money unwisely.”
• Normal Congressional activities came to a screeching halt in late September and early October as the legislature turned its attention to deciding what to do about the nation’s financial crisis. A lot of midnight oil was burned by a host of instant money experts. First the House rejected a $700 billion bill, then the Senate worked out a compromise, passed that bill and sent it on to the House, where it was accepted and passed.
• While Congress was on a five-week recess from August to September, the process for nominating presidential candidates (Senators John McCain and Barack Obama) took over the news headlines and focused attention on the coming election. As the campaign heated up and gathered steam, there were ever more promises as to what each candidate, if elected, would do by way of new programs and legislation.
The Department of Transportation has drawn fire from the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) for a plan to set aside for “current and future administrative support costs” $3.2 million of the $10 million appropriated by Congress under the Small Community Air Service Development Program.
As the Senate and the House of Representatives neared adjournment for August, both parties in the Senate were patting themselves on the back for their presumed successes.
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