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.
United States House Committee on Appropriations
A year after industry groups such as the Aerospace Industries Association started warning about the threatened U.S. government budget reductions known as “sequestration,” the White House has offered specifics about what the impact would be for the Department of Defense (DoD) and other federal agencies.
The failure of the U.S. Congressional Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction to reach a deal on a new deficit-reduction plan will trigger automatic spending cuts in 2013 that could cripple many of the agencies the nation’s air transportation system needs to operate safety and efficiently.
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.
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.
• 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.
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.
• Even though the Senate and the House of Representatives did not sit in session during August, a multitude of committee and subcommittee meetings convened during this period to look into the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the aftermath and how to avoid such events in the future.
• Congress dodged the dog days of August by taking a six-week recess beginning July 22, but not before legislators increased their bills introduced count to 2,772 in the Senate and 5,001 in the House of Representatives.
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