Putting U.S. Aviation at Risk: The Impacts of the Shutdown

HVC 210, Capitol Visitor Center

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0 Wednesday, February 13, 2019 @ 10:00 | Contact: Justin Harclerode 202-225-9446
This is a hearing of the Subcommittee on Aviation.

Witness List:
Mr. Paul Rinaldi, President, National Air Traffic Controllers Association, AFL-CIO | Written Testimony
Mr. Mike Perrone, National President, Professional Aviation Safety Specialists | Written Testimony
Mr. Nicholas E. Calio, President and CEO, Airlines for America | Written Testimony
Ms. Sara Nelson, International President, Association of Flight Attendants-CWA | Written Testimony
Mr. Pete Bunce, President and CEO, General Aviation Manufacturers Association | Written Testimony

Official Transcript

Opening remarks, as prepared, of Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Ranking Member Sam Graves (R-MO):

Thank you, Chairman Larsen for holding this hearing and congratulations on being named Subcommittee Chairman.

Fortunately, it looks like another shutdown will be averted.  Although if some in Congress get their way, we may not have to worry about shutting down the aviation system in the future – because apparently, under the Green New Deal, there wouldn’t even be an aviation system anymore.  Imagining replacing our aviation system – a cornerstone of our economy that provides approximately 11 million Americans with jobs – is just ludicrous, but that’s a topic for another day.

Today, I want to thank NATCA employees, PASS employees, and all Federal employees who worked without pay during the shutdown to keep our economy moving and our skies safe.  I understand that during the duration of the shutdown, while the number of operations were up from the same time last year, there was no increase in serious safety incidents.

We owe you all a tremendous debt of gratitude for your professionalism under very difficult circumstances.

As we learn more about the short- and long-term impacts of the shutdown, Congress must hear from the FAA and the Department of Transportation about how the shutdown played out and what efforts are underway to recover from those impacts.  This information is vital for us to truly understand the scope of the situation.

Opening remarks, as prepared, of Subcommittee on Aviation Ranking Member Garret Graves (R-LA):

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for calling this important hearing on the impacts of the shutdown to the aviation system. 

I want to start by first congratulating you on your selection as chair of the Subcommittee on Aviation.  This Subcommittee has a long history of bipartisan cooperation and of setting aside politics to ensure that our national air transportation system remains vibrant and safe.  I look forward to working with you and with all members of the Subcommittee.

Nothing exemplifies this Subcommittee’s bipartisanship better than the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018, which is the longest FAA reauthorization since the 1980s.  As this Subcommittee oversees the many mandates included in the law, it is important that we understand the status of the FAA’s implementation plans following the shutdown.

It is unfortunate that the FAA is not here today to share that information with us, but I know the Subcommittee will be focusing on the FAA’s implementation efforts in the coming months.

It is also important that we understand both the short- and long-term impacts of shutdowns on our system and on aerospace stakeholders.   Today’s witnesses and the stakeholders they represent can take credit for maintaining the safe operation of the National Airspace System during the shutdown.  The professionalism of the men and women who run the day-to-day operations of all aspects of the system is remarkable.  Despite very trying circumstances, they continued their work ensuring the safety of the system and are to be commended.

I thank the witnesses for participating in today’s hearing.

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