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ATC Privatization Could Cause Cascade of Cuts

Nearly $100 billion added deficit would trigger sequester cutbacks

November 2, 2017 - The nearly $100 billion addition to the federal deficit caused by ATC privatization, as estimated by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, would force mandatory cuts across a broad swath of important federal programs, such as military retirement and flood insurance.

The Congressional Research Service, which conducts nonpartisan reviews of legislation, sent a memo to members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee that separating air traffic control operations from the FAA would trigger an automatic budget sequester if costs are not offset.

The CRS noted that “under the (2011) law a sequester would be triggered, which would require across-the-board cuts to non-exempt mandatory spending programs to make up for the amount of the debt.” It would take additional legislation to offset the losses and raise revenue to cover the additional deficit.

“A major reason for the growing opposition to airline-ization of ATC privatization, which is a bad solution to a nonexistent problem, is that every review of the plan shows it to have a negative impact for everything except the profits of major airlines,” said Jack J. Pelton, EAA CEO and Chairman of the Board. “We’ve known it’s a bad idea for the federal budget, that it could slow modernization, and could very well be unconstitutional. Now we learn that its budget impact could harm retirement pensions for veterans, funds for victims of major floods, and those who require Medicare coverage. That’s on top of the proven devastation it would cause to general aviation, rural airports, and commercial airline passengers.”

In addition, three leading aviation groups in West Virginia this week sent a letter to the state’s congressional delegation opposing ATC privatization. They included the Huntington Tri-State Airport, the North Central West Virginia Airport, and the West Virginia Airport Managers Association. Huntington Mayor Steve Williams joined them in opposition.

EAA and other GA organizations continue to fight H.R. 2997, which includes language for ATC privatization. All EAA members are encouraged to contact their House representatives via ATCNotForSale.com or EAA’s Rally Congress website to express opposition to the legislation.

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