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.”
The nomination of former Airline Pilots Association president J. Randolph “Randy” Babbitt to become the next FAA Administrator generally was received favorably by the aviation industry when it was announced by President Obama in late March. At press time, Babbitt had not yet been confirmed by the Senate. NBAA called Babbitt an “excellent choice” and predicted that he would be able to hit the ground running.
A line in President Obama’s 134-page budget for Fiscal Year 2010 has put general aviation lobbyists on high alert. Page 129 contains a notation that “the budget proposes repealing some aviation excise taxes and replacing these taxes with direct user charges.” NBAA said it is “very troubled” by the budget outline because it appears to leave the door open to consideration of aviation user fees for funding the FAA.
House aviation subcommittee chairman Jerry Costello (D-Ill.) said last month that the Obama Administration “has an [FAA] Administrator in mind and has been negotiating” with the potential nominee, who some thought meant Randy Babbitt, a former president of the Air Line Pilots Association. By late month, however, the scuttlebutt was that the negotiations had become bogged down over money.
u Even before President Barack Obama took the oath of office on January 20 political analysts, media gurus (press, radio, TV talking heads) and a horde of amateur prognosticators came out of the woodwork to peer deeply into their crystal balls for any insight as to how Congress would react to Obama’s campaign promises and legislative goals.
Retired Illinois Rep. Ray LaHood breezed through a Senate hearing yesterday afternoon on his nomination to be Secretary of Transportation in the Obama Administration. As one of two Republicans in Obama’s Cabinet, he told the senators that while his primary mission is to bring the President’s priorities to the DOT and see them effectively implemented, he promised to be open and fair.
When the 111th Congress convenes this month, all the bills introduced in the 110th Congress that did not make it into law will find themselves in the Congressional dumpster. There had been 7,318 bills introduced in the House and 3,724 in the Senate, and a generous estimate is that only about 4 percent were enacted. That number includes naming of post offices, moratoriums on various tariffs and so on.
Retiring congressman Ray LaHood (R-Ill.), who presided over the impeachment of President Clinton, was nominated December 19 as the new secretary of transportation in President-elect Barack Obama’s Administration and the second Republican to sit in his Cabinet.
Retiring Rep. Ray LaHood (R-Ill.), who presided over the impeachment of President Clinton, will be the new Secretary of Transportation in President-elect Barack Obama’s Administration and the second Republican to sit in his Cabinet.
• Almost immediately after his election, President-elect Barack Obama considered possible members of his Cabinet and staff. Obama and vice president-elect Joe Biden will give up their seats in the Senate. The governors of Illinois and Delaware, respectively, will choose their replacements. Should any of the current members of Congress be called on to fill cabinet positions, their successors will also need to be chosen.