Subcommittee on Aviation

Thomas E. Petri, Chairman

The Subcommittee oversees aviation safety and infrastructure, as well as the impacts of transportation security on safety and the aviation industry.

Creating Jobs: The FAA Modernization and Reform Act: On February 14, 2012, the Committee saw its major initiative to improve the nation’s airport and aviation infrastructure, create jobs, modernize our antiquated pre-World War II air traffic control system, improve aviation safety, and save taxpayers money through significant reforms of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) signed into law. The FAA Modernization and Reform Act (H.R. 658) sets the long-term federal policy for a vital segment of the nation's economy. (more information)

Key provisions in the FAA Modernization and Reform Act include:

Ticket Subsidy Reform: A key reform in the new law brings an end to outrageous ticket subsidies, some as high as $3,720 per ticket, for air service to some small airports under the Essential Air Service (EAS) program. (more information)

Air Traffic Control Modernization (NextGen): Important provisions in the law provide a blueprint for modernizing the nation's pre-World War II air traffic control system, which will help reduce air traffic delays, cut down on emissions and pollution, and lower costs for consumers. (more information)

Labor Reforms: The law includes unprecedented reforms to bring much needed equity, transparency, and oversight to labor relations in the aviation industry, as well as the rail industry, which are governed by the National Mediation Board (NMB). (more information)

Passenger Security Screening Reform: A key reform in the FAA law helps ensure that the nation's airports can “opt out” of federal security screeners and instead use the more cost-effective private-federal screening model in which certified private screeners operate under federal standards, supervision and oversight. (more information)

Cutting Waste: Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Reform: The Transportation Security Agency, created in 2001 following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, was intended to be a lean security agency with the flexibility to quickly respond and adapt to potential threats of terrorism. Instead TSA has mushroomed into a massive, inflexible, backward-looking bureaucracy of more than 65,000. Over its first ten years of existence, the agency and its numerous failures have cost taxpayers $57 billion.

TSA is a top-heavy agency in need of reform. Its ranks include 3,986 headquarters staff in Washington, DC making $103,852 per year on average, and 9,656 administrators in the field. The agency's primary objectives should be setting security standards, overseeing security performance, and analyzing intelligence, but it has become too focused on maintaining and growing its own bureaucracy. This is an agency that needs to get out of the personnel management business and into the security business. For example, if certified private screeners operated under federal supervision at the nation's airports, TSA could better focus on its security mission and taxpayers could save $1 billion over five years.

On May 9, 2012, an investigative report by the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Government Reform and Oversight Committee found that TSA is wasting hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars by inefficiently deploying screening equipment and technology to commercial airports. Investigators observed approximately 5,700 pieces of security equipment with an estimated purchase value of $184 million sitting in a Dallas warehouse. In addition to noting serious management and procurement challenges, the report also points out that TSA willfully delayed Congressional oversight of the agency’s logistics center twice in a failed attempt to hide the disposal of approximately 1,300 pieces of equipment. It also indicates that TSA management potentially violated U.S. law by knowingly providing inaccurate warehouse inventory reports to Congressional staff during an investigative visit. (more information)

The “European Union Emissions Trading Scheme Prohibition Act”: On November 27, 2012, the President signed into law legislation to ensure the United States will not participate in an unfair European Union (EU) scheme to tax American and other nations’ aircraft operators and air carriers on emissions when flying into and out of the EU.

S. 1956, the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme Prohibition Act of 2011, is a Senate companion to bipartisan legislation that was introduced in the House by Transportation and Infrastructure Committee leaders, including Chairman John L. Mica (R-FL) and Aviation Subcommittee Chairman Tom Petri (R-WI).

Although the EU recently announced a one-year postponement in implementing the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) for international flights, the approved bill ensures that U.S. aircraft operators will not at any point participate in the unilaterally imposed and unlawful tax scheme. (more information)

Chairman Tom Petri
Chairman Tom Petri (R-WI)
About Chairman Petri

Contact the Subcommittee

Subcommittee on Aviation
2251 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515


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