On March 14 the Senate passed the $52.9 billion federal highway bill (S.1803), which contains significant amendments regarding helicopter tour operations over national parks. Of particular concern is a successful amendment to the bill offered by Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) that would give the director of the National Park Service (NPS) broad authority to regulate helicopter and fixed-wing tour flights over land under its administration as well as tribal lands, a move that the air-tour business nationwide regards as debilitating.
When the new president takes office in January, among the myriad issues to be addressed will be the concerns of the aviation community. Certain to top the pile are FAA reauthorization, air traffic control modernization and selection of a new FAA Administrator.
When the new president takes office in January, among the myriad issues he’ll address will be the concerns of the aviation community. Certain to top the list are FAA reauthorization, air traffic control modernization and the selection of a new FAA Administrator.
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.
Although the presidential elections will not take place until November next year, the voting public can expect the Bush Administration and members of Congress to gear up and steadily move forward on domestic programs that will have the most influence on voters when it is time to cast ballots. Obviously, President Bush wants to be reelected and, at the same time, retain party control over the Senate and the House of Representatives.
Back before the Iowa primary, Senators Barack Obama and John McCain spent
lots of time rolling around that state on campaign busses. But with the clock ticking toward election day and much bigger terrain to cover, both presumptive presidential nominees have long since turned mostly to business jet travel.
Congress took its own spring break, leaving March 21 to 23 and returning the second week of last month. By March 23 the box score on bills submitted was 2,073 in the Senate and 4,081 in the House.
With the Republicans retaking control of the Senate when the 108th Congress convenes early next month, some recognizable names will be moving back into the leadership positions they were forced to vacate when former GOP Sen. Jim Jeffords of Vermont became an independent and allied with the Democrats in the middle of last year.
The Bush Administration has proposed spending $759 billion next year for government agencies and programs other than Social Security, but more than half has been earmarked (not to be confused with pork-barrel earmarking) for the military, homeland security and foreign aid.
There was good news and bad news concerning appropriations for those 11 of 13 government agencies that have been impatiently waiting and enduring the agony of eight continuing resolutions that allowed them to operate with Fiscal Year 2002-level funding.
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