FAA Woes at Congress’ Choice to LayOff Workers

There is nothing more sexy in the world than a man (or woman) with the intelligence and ability to form and argue an idea that seems so simple but is truly complex.  I love these pitch and catch idea sessions that Brian and I have – the key to a good marriage.  You could lock us in a closet and we’d still be talking when you let us out.  I am all about psychology while Bri loves politics…and flying.  “The FAA” thing got his goat.

“What FAA thing,” I did ask.  I have been writing, and I don’t really know what day it is until someone tells me. Is the FAA missing?

“The FAA deal” he said meaningfully last night.  I could tell that the look on my face was a cross between “Oh, crap” and “am I supposed to know this?” I never watch the news, I find it to depressing.  I catch all the highlights on the Internet, but I just can’t stomach the person to person pain that is inflicted by humanity on humanity every day.

The look on his face, however, is that passionate one that I’ve known for nearly a decade and a half – he pulled out the proverbial soap box and laid it out.  There in my being renovated kitchen that now has only one refrigerator (yea!) and is getting ready to be painted, I learned about my husband’s concern for the FAA – and this time, it wasn’t a horror story about some Mom like me going to jail because a Transportation person got a little to close to the babykins.

The following political commentary is from the Rush County Tea Party site and the larger part of my discussion (I listened) with beloved hubster, Brian.  If I had an opinion, this would probably be it, but I did find it interesting in one respect..and these were my two questions for his argument.

  • While the FAA is shut down, who do the airlines pay to do all those seriously over the top security checks where they pat down an infant for an Uzi or pretend my favorite lotion has more lethal intent than sex appeal?  Last time I went to NC on a commercial flight, they X-rayed me, and I am told it’s an image sans my  clothes.  Big glass spinney thing. I felt like Marilyn Monroe in my little summer dress and thought it was kinda kinky fun; but if my daughters had been there and anyone tried to put their hands on them, they’d never use those fingers again.
  • Also, what about that big FAA fee that people pay in airfare tickets?  Is it going into another account somewhere?  Does the bill for collection still go out?  Can you charge a fee is you’re not providing the full service package? All these things make me think two things….one, while I love the service people, I really hate commercial flights unless I’m in first class and really into the champagne, and no one near me has had the flu recently.  Two, I am really glad that my husband is a pilot, and that it’s way easier to fly from here to where I am going in his plane than a big one, and usually faster.  Same restrictions on carry-ons, though.  I guess fuel/weight ratios are universal.  Still, there are no lines and he carries the bags and uses that sexy pilot voice talking to the tower. Who knew?

Anyway, here is the article that I read….

House & Senate members have left town allowing the FAA shutdown and thousands of  layoffs to continue until at least September. Hopefully, they book private flights or flew incognito instead of first class.  The Senate is in recess until Sept 6 and the House will not return until September 7. House Speaker John Boehner and Republicans have backed Democrats into a corner by sending a take it or leave bill to the Senate.

Is the FAA left in the lurch?

The FAA Authorization Bill is currently stalled in House-Senate talks because GOP lawmakers want to repeal an Obama Administration rule making it easier for workers at airlines and rail companies to organize. Nowhere in the political rhetoric is this issue mentioned.

Senator Rockefeller says: “Today, Republicans once again objected to a simple, fair request—a ‘clean’ extension of funding that would maintain operations into the fall, allow the FAA to function, and restart bipartisan negotiations, which Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison and I have made clear we are ready to do.  From day one, House GOP leaders admitted openly, almost proudly, that they were doing this to gain ‘leverage’ toward a larger goal—undermining worker rights.”

This means nearly 4,000 FAA employees and 70,000 construction workers cannot go back to work.  So who is to blame for the partisan bickering?  You guessed it, the Obama presidency strikes again.

An Obama appointee shifted the balance of power on the three-member National Mediation Board (NMB), and shortly thereafter the NMB issued a rule change. It said that union efforts to organize airlines should be decided by a simple majority of ballots cast. Before that ruling, airline unionization had been governed by a rule that said eligible voters in a unionization effort who did not cast a ballot would be recorded as voting against the union. The new rule would apply to all airlines, but it’s most immediate potential impact would be to Delta Airlines, where unionization efforts have been defeated.

The NMB ruling proved to be the major sticking point, while the difference over funding for flight subsidies to small airports was a thorny point. The subsidies  were a  more negotiable issue. The result, the FAA has asked dozens of airport safety inspectors to work without pay and to charge their government travel expenses to their personal credit cards to keep airports operating safely.

This mess is costing the government 25 million dollars per day to keep the skeletal crew going. In the meantime, the sky appears to be safe.  As a private pilot of 20 years, I am planning on going for a stroll in the sky with a client and friend later this afternoon.

If I notice anything unusual, I will update you.  (Source: http://www.rushcountyteaparty.com.blog)

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