The $328 billion omnibus spending bill passed by Congress to fund most federal agencies for the remainder of fiscal year 2004 (until September 30) failed to provide the $100 million authorized for general aviation businesses hurt by 9/11. But, as they say in the sports world, there’s always next year.
• 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.
Interested parties are getting more time to comment on the FAA’s controversial proposal to require all air-tour operators to be certified under Part 135 or 121, with an extension of the comment period from April 19 to June 18.
The comment window has been reopened until March 11 on the FAA’s proposal to revise the technical and operational requirements for simulators and flight-training devices, as well as consolidate them under one new rule. The proposal was published in September 2002 and the original comment period closed February 24 last year.
Congress bailed out of Washington in early December and was scheduled to land back in place on January 20. The recess provided ample time for reviewing legislative accomplishments and failures during the first session of the 108th Congress and for taking a look at what might happen in the second session.
The FAA has revised FAR Part 91.321 to clarify that private aircraft operators can transport candidates on campaign travel for state and local elective offices and accept payment for the flight in accordance with state and local election laws. The new rule will take effect on March 2.
• After the November elections, House Democrats vowed to pass the “Six for ’06” bills (minimum wages, stem cell research, energy and so on) in the first 100 legislative hours of the 110th Congress and, to their credit, they did so in 87 hours. However, when those bills were sent to the Senate, three met resistance, one appeared to be destined for a veto by the President and two were subjected to heavy criticism from outside groups.
Part 135 on-demand operators and Part 145 repair stations will soon be
President Bush Tuesday signed into law a homeland security spending bill that includes language directing the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to work with industry to expand the transportation security administration access certificate (TSAAC), a voluntary general aviation security program.
• So, President George W. Bush won the election and will serve four more years in the White House. Cabinet changes are the subject of speculation, but Department of Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta’s name has not surfaced as of press time. Troubled by back problems, Mineta may or may not stay on.