When 91-year-old Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) relinquished his chairmanship of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee late last year, the domino effect thrust Sen. John Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.) into the chairmanship of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.
The 108th Congress opened for business the first week in January with a few changes of note. The racial gaffe committed by Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) during the departure ceremonies for Sen. Strom Thurmond forced him out as the Senate Majority Leader.
In the upheaval over the remarks by ex-Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, Sen. Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), who learned to fly as a teenager, was named as his replacement.
Although Lott (R-Miss.) resigned his post as leader, he remains in the Senate and has muscled his way into the chairmanship of the Senate aviation subcommittee, displacing Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), who was thought to be in line for the position.
After Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) announced November 26 that he would leave the Senate at the end 2007, it didn’t take long to fill his post as the ranking Republican member of the Senate aviation subcommittee. With- in days, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (Texas) was named to replace him.
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.
“In Washington, D.C., no bad idea ever dies,” National Association of State Aviation Officials president and CEO Henry Ogrodzinski said of aviation user fees late last month at the American Association of Airport Executives General Aviation Issues Conference in Naples, Fla. “Even if a good [FAA reauthorization] bill passes this time, user fees will still come up next time.”
Corporate aviation took flak on FAA funding proposals this morning as the architects of S.1300, the Senate FAA financing bill that includes a $25 user fee for most flights, made it clear they want business aircraft users to pay more toward ATC modernization. “I don’t want to create a system where airline passengers subsidize corporate jets,” said Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), chairman of the senate aviation subcommittee.