Letter Signed By 223 Members Of The U.S. House Of Representatives
A majority of the U.S. House of Representatives recently delivered a resounding, bipartisan message to President Obama in opposition to his repeated calls for aviation user fees, drawing praise from the NBAA and NATA for the 223 members who signed a letter to President Obama.
A staple of the administration's past two budget proposals, a $100 per-flight fee on general aviation aircraft is considered likely to again be part of its fiscal year 2014 budget, to be unveiled later this week. In an April 5 letter to the president, House lawmakers termed imposition of aviation user fees “the wrong approach” for reducing the deficit, and called on the president to “abandon this idea once and for all.
“Commercial and general aviation, including aviation manufacturing, are vital industries in our nation, providing millions of jobs and making important contributions to our economy,” the letter states. “We should work together to support policies that encourage job growth and strengthen U.S. economic activities.”
In response to the letter, NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen stressed the importance of such strong congressional opposition to the administration's desire for user fees, adding that support has proven vital to defeating past efforts by both Democratic and Republican administrations to impose similar levies. “This isn’t the first time Congress has rejected user fees, or sent a letter in opposition to user fees to the president,” Bolen noted. “It is, however, the first time that a clear majority of members of Congress has signed onto the letter. Clearly, the opposition to user fees in Congress, which has always been exceedingly strong, is becoming overwhelming.”
The letter was circulated by House Aviation Subcommittee Chairman Frank LoBiondo (R-2-FL) and Ranking Subcommittee Member Rick Larsen (D-2-WA), along with House General Aviation (GA) Caucus Co-Chairs Sam Graves (R-6-MO) and John Barrow (D-12-GA.)
"Establishing a per-flight user fee would have enormous negative economic consequences on the general aviation industry," said NATA President and CEO Thomas L. Hendricks. "We believe the current method of collecting revenues through a per-gallon fuel tax is the most stable, efficient, and equitable source of funding for the Federal Aviation Administration."