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Senate Proceeding 02-15-11 on Feb 15th, 2011 :: 1:07:40 to 1:15:00
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John Rockefeller

1:07:29 to 1:07:53( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: quorum call: mr. rockefeller: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from west virginia. mr. rockefeller: i ask unanimous consent t for the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. rockefeller: mr. president, the impending paul amendment would cut the f.a.a.'s authorization levels

John Rockefeller

1:07:40 to 1:15:00( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: John Rockefeller

John Rockefeller

1:07:54 to 1:08:14( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: for fiscal year 2011, 2008, $14.7 billion for the entire agency representing a near $3 billion cut from the administration's electrical of approximately $17.5 billion. that doesn't seem like a lot of money -- of course, it does, but let me explain. managing f.a.a. at the 2008 levels would result in immediate

John Rockefeller

1:08:15 to 1:08:35( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: retrenchment of core functions to reduce operating costs. to wit, f.a.a. would eliminate services and throw out all air traffic organization employees for at least 20 days. the primary service of the a.t.o. is to move air traffic safely and efficiently and that

John Rockefeller

1:08:36 to 1:08:58( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: for a period of 40 days would cease. f.a.a. would implement a hiring freeze for the a.t.o. which -- air traffic organization -- which would force the a.t. o'to focus on major airport's with scheduled service resulting in service reductions, in particular to smaller and rural airports.

John Rockefeller

1:08:59 to 1:09:19( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: which affects some of us. the aviation safety office would eliminate 680 employees through attrition. it would also furlough all 1,015 operational support employees, an average of two days each week. pretty hard to carry on, you know, three days and then three

John Rockefeller

1:09:20 to 1:09:42( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: days the next week. and that particular agency, aviation safety, is responsible for the certification, production approval and continued airworthiness of aircraft. and certification of pilots and certification of mechanics and others in safety-related positions. that's what this amendment would do.

John Rockefeller

1:09:43 to 1:10:03( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: the f.a.a. would have to defer major next-general nation air traffic control system initiatives. that's extraordinarily painful. after all, we go back to our old story that i think it's -- is it

John Rockefeller

1:10:04 to 1:10:25( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: mongolia alone? we're behind mongolia in this modernization effort. just a thought. and we -- in all of this we would be including next-generation network-enabled weather, data communications, systemwide information management, safety security, environmental security, information tool set.

John Rockefeller

1:10:26 to 1:10:50( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: this means accurate weather forecasting would go down and pilots would have less relevant information, resulting in increased delays and congestion, as aircraft would have a lot more difficulty navigating storms. weather is the associated cause of 70% of delays. much less accidents.

John Rockefeller

1:10:51 to 1:11:13( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: it cuts to datacom would impact pilot-situational awareness and lead to degradation of air traffic safety control having an effect on safety. it would cut f.a.a.'s research and development and would cause the delay or cancellation of nextgen.

John Rockefeller

1:11:14 to 1:11:34( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: i repeat, to cancel or delay nextgen . specifically, f.a.a. will terminate all related programs that were started since 2008, including the continuous low-energy emission and noise program, which develops cleaner and quieter aircraft technologies, and alternative aviation fuels, safety research would also be impacted, including a one-year delay for

John Rockefeller

1:11:35 to 1:11:56( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: research on continued airworthiness for small aircraft as we will as research on emerging technologies for large aincht specific office impacts, office of human resources, f.a.a. would furlough all employees for at least 46 days. furloughing a.h.r. employees

John Rockefeller

1:11:57 to 1:12:17( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: will impose a significant hardship on their ability to provide human resource services to f.a.a. aviation safety and security hazard materials, all that have would be reduced. this means fewer inspectors for airlines, fewer parts certified as safe, delays in producing new

John Rockefeller

1:12:18 to 1:12:38( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: u.s.-manufactured aircraft. office of the associate administrator for airports would also be cut. this would mean increased risk of runway incursions and delays to technology that would minimize such risks, which have been widely reported in the press and are often not reported in the press.

John Rockefeller

1:12:39 to 1:12:59( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: but, nevertheless, happen. the f.a.a. would implement a hiring freeze, which monks many things would -- which amongst many things would thread a loss of support staff in air traffic control towers and consequently controllers would pick up administrative duties and will have less time on the boards in

John Rockefeller

1:13:00 to 1:13:23( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: front of them, the lights going off and on this. could lead to an increase in the number and severity of operational errors. we cannot make operational errors in the control tower. you cannot hand that off to other people. that is called "essential air safety." this a means fewer air traffic controllers and ones that are less focused on directing airplanes.

John Rockefeller

1:13:24 to 1:13:46( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: on the safety side and on the maneuverability side -- both would subside. elimination of all federal contract tower funding will effectively shift the cost of operating these towers to the effective airports or to state and local government. i don't know what good comes of that, since state and local government doesn't do that stuff.

John Rockefeller

1:13:47 to 1:14:11( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: i could go through state by state of what the effect would be, but what it does is just a hand-handed approach to make cuts, and it is a very interesting thing about air traffic safety.

John Rockefeller

1:14:12 to 1:14:34( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: it's highly sophisticated. it's compartmentalized. you can't just shift people from this to that as quickly as you can in other lines of work. lives are at stake. homes on the ground are at stake. crashes are at stake. collisions are at stake. so it's all well and good to do something which appears to be

John Rockefeller

1:14:35 to 1:14:57( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: cutting the budget, but when you're putting the lives of americans on the ground and in the air at risk directly, that strikes me as something we should not do. so i am extraordinarily unenthusiastic about this amendment and will hope that there are many eloquent speeches that follow me in this manner.

John Rockefeller

1:14:58 to 1:15:00( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: i thank the the presiding officer: who yields time?

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