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Senate Proceeding on Mar 10th, 2010 :: 6:09:10 to 6:29:45
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John Rockefeller

6:09:10 to 6:29:45( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: John Rockefeller

John Rockefeller

6:09:21 to 6:09:42( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: quorum call: mr. rockefeller: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from west virginia. mr. rockefeller: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the rescinded. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. rockefeller: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the senate now proceed to calendar number 36, h.r. 1586, and that once the bill i reported, that i be recognized to offer a

John Rockefeller

6:09:43 to 6:10:03( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: substitute amendment. the presiding officer: is there an objection? without objection, so ordered. the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 36, h.r. 1586, an act to impose an additional tax on bonuses received from certain tarp recipients. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the amendment.

John Rockefeller

6:10:04 to 6:10:24( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: the clerk: the senator from west virginia, mr. rockefeller, proposes an amendment numbered 3452. strike out all after the enacting -- mr. rock fell: i ask that reading of the amendment be waived. -- mr. rockefeller: i ask that reading of the amendment be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. rockefeller: mr. president, i'm very happy to be here this

John Rockefeller

6:10:25 to 6:10:45( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: afternoon with the most excellentanking member of the commerce committee, senator kay bailey hutchison of texas, and we lay down our transportation bill and in so doing we say that our transportation system is at a crossroads and not a comfortable one. for decades, the federal

John Rockefeller

6:10:46 to 6:11:07( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: aviation administration has done an excellent job of operating the world's most complex airline system. nobody close. the system has served us very well. not only is it the safest airspace system in the world, it's a critical comnent of the national economy. i cannot understate the

John Rockefeller

6:11:08 to 6:11:30( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: importance of a vibrant and strong aviation system. it's fundamental to our nation's long-term growth, from the largest cities to the very smallest of towns. because it connects our citizens and it connects our businesses with the global economy. increasingly, however, our air

John Rockefeller

6:11:31 to 6:11:52( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: transportation system and the f.a.a., the federal aviation administration, they're strained beyond capacity. our skies and airports have become plagued with congestion and delay and, what's more, on a pretty regular basis. over the past decade, we have seen passengers delayed for

John Rockefeller

6:11:53 to 6:12:14( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: hours on runways, and we hear about it. during peak times, such as the holidays, the system is often paralyzed, stopped, disruptions at just one key airport -- maybe j.f.k., maybe o'hare, maybe los angeles -- any one of those places can quickly cascade

John Rockefeller

6:12:15 to 6:12:35( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: throughout the entire system. should they be in trouble. with airline capacity cuts, these delays can easily extend to days for passengers that cannot find flights with empty seats because the capacity has beeneduced. our constitnts are frustrated

John Rockefeller

6:12:36 to 6:12:56( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: about flying, and, frankly, rightly so. when our economy recovers -- and i believe that growth has slowly begun. we sha see -- congestion and delay will only get worse. the f.a.a. predicts that commercial air traffic will

John Rockefeller

6:12:57 to 6:13:18( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: increase by nearly 50% over the next decade. put that in other terms, from our current level of 700 million passengers a year, it will be well over a billion passengers per year. in a complex system as ours, everything has to work. so the possibility of a meltdown of the air traffic control

John Rockefeller

6:13:19 to 6:13:40( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: system may, in fact, become a reality, and this will put passenger safety at extreme risk. these are not only troubling signs, there are more. while aviation has an excellent safety record, as i have indicated, the federal aviation administration and the industry's focus on safety and

John Rockefeller

6:13:41 to 6:14:03( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: vigilance in maintaining it as the highest priority have come into question, question of safety. the grounding of thousands of aircraft throughout the system in 2008 raise questions about the quality of airline maintenance practices and the f.a.a.'s ability to provide

John Rockefeller

6:14:04 to 6:14:26( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: sufficient oversight of air carriers. the tragic accident of flight 3407 has exposed problems with pilot training, crew fatigue, and the ability of the industry to assure the traveling public that there is one level of safety throughout the entire system, and that does not exist.

John Rockefeller

6:14:27 to 6:14:47( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: for all these reasons, i stand here along with my distinguished colleague and encourage my colleagues in as strong a fashion as i can possibly muster to move forward and pass s. 51, to-wit the f.a. air transptation modernization and

John Rockefeller

6:14:48 to 6:15:10( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: safety improvement act. i will only say that once. i want to spend a few minutes discussing how and why we have made so little progress in addressing the issues facing our nation's aviation system. in 1999 and 2000, the aviation system was experiencing the

John Rockefeller

6:15:11 to 6:15:31( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: worst congestions and delays in its history. there was indeed a growing recognition that fundamental change was needed. nonethels, i worked with senator lott to author vision 100. in effect the 2003 f.a. re-authorization bill.

John Rockefeller

6:15:32 to 6:15:52( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: this bill laid the foundation to build a modern digital satellite-based air traffic control system. we created the joint planning and development office and authorized a significant increase in f.a.'s capital budget to meet the specific air

John Rockefeller

6:15:53 to 6:16:15( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: traffic control modernization needs. a lot of what i say will be based on that. an increase based upon the administration's own budget request. but instead of investing in the system in 2004-2005 -- in 2004, 05, and 2006, the previous administration proposed dramatic

John Rockefeller

6:16:16 to 6:16:37( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: cuts in the f.a.'s facilities and equipment, the f&e, account. the accounts that fund air traffic control modernization. the urgency of 2000 understandably but regrettably waned as air traffic fell after 9/11.

John Rockefeller

6:16:38 to 6:16:58( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: today we find ourselves in a similar situation. the recession has prevented widespread delay, temporarily. we must not let this temporary reprieve keep us from taking action to address these concerns once again. our economy has begun, as i indicated, to slowly turn

John Rockefeller

6:16:59 to 6:17:22( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: around, and i'm confident that demand for air travel will soon begin to grow. if we do not act quickly, our system will simply not have the capacity to cope with the growth in demand. that's where you get in trouble. i believe that everyone in aviation recognizes the need to modernize our national air transportation system in order

John Rockefeller

6:17:23 to 6:17:43( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: to meet the growth in passenger traffic. in addition to creating much more capacity, a new satellite-based a.t.c. system, air traffic conol system, will allow airplanes to move more efficiently by taking more direct routes, being able to be closer to each other but without danger. these improvements will save our

John Rockefeller

6:17:44 to 6:18:06( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: economy billions of dollars annually. most importantly, the next generation air transportation system, which we refer to as nextgen, nextgen, will dramatically improve the safety of air transportation by providing pilots and air traffic controllers with better situational awareness.

John Rockefeller

6:18:07 to 6:18:29( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: they will be able to see other aircraft and detailed weather maps in real time. president obama clearly recognized the value of investing in our air transportation system, and this is, in fact, reflected in this fiscal year 2011 budget request. the administration has proposed

John Rockefeller

6:18:30 to 6:18:50( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: spending a total of $1.1 billion in fiscal 2011 on nextgen program, which is a more than 30% increase. that is not in line with the so-called freeze. so it is a 30% increase over 2010.

John Rockefeller

6:18:51 to 6:19:11( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: we oversee all of transportation trains, cars, airplanes, trucks, whatever you have. and i would just say at this point for the record that the same financial requests or needs for the surface transportation

John Rockefeller

6:19:12 to 6:19:34( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: board which interacts with railroads and shippers has not been increased sufficiently. it's $31 million and it needs to be closer to $44 million. these efforts, however, are only the first steps of a long journey. modernizing the a.t.c. system

John Rockefeller

6:19:35 to 6:19:56( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: will require a sustained focus and substantial resources. s. 1451 takes concrete steps to make sure that the f.a. accelerates the nextgen -- that's the modern system -- programs and that the agency implements modernization efforts in an effective and efficient manner over the long run.

John Rockefeller

6:19:57 to 6:20:18( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: the f.a. estimates that nextgen will cost the agency agency $20 billion through 2025, and the articles another another $20 billion in aircraft equipage, how they as an individual airplane responds and reacts to that system so it can work.

John Rockefeller

6:20:19 to 6:20:40( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: i have worked with senators inouye and baucus to reach a deal that i believe moves us in the right direction. s. 1451, the bill under discussion, will create a new subcontract with the aviation trust fund to fund f.a.'s modernization efforts.

John Rockefeller

6:20:41 to 6:21:01( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: this modernization sub account will dedicate $500 million annually to nextgen efforts. i appreciate the hard works of my colleagues in this provision to develop it, to make it become possible. safety. now, i'd like to spend some time

John Rockefeller

6:21:02 to 6:21:22( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: talking about the highest priority in aviation, and that's called safety. statistically, the u.s. has the safest air transportation system in the world. i indicated that. but statistics don't tell you the whole story. it has been a little more than a year since the tragic crash of flight 3407 in buffalo, new

John Rockefeller

6:21:23 to 6:21:44( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: york, took the lives of 50 people. it is clear from the national transportation safety board investigation that we need to take serious steps to improve pilot traing, address flight crew fatigue to make the cockpit

John Rockefeller

6:21:45 to 6:22:06( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: isolated from extraneous conversation and refor air carrier employment practices. i commend senator dorgan in particar for the work he has done to promote the safety in the aftermath of this action. he has attached himself to this cause ferociously. the committee's work has prompted the f.a. to initiative a number of

John Rockefeller

6:22:07 to 6:22:28( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: activities to improve aviation safety. the agency has been able to get many air carriers to make voluntary commitments to implement important safety measures, and the agency is committed to issuing new regulations on flight and duty time limitations in coming months. despite this progress, our work

John Rockefeller

6:22:29 to 6:22:50( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: remains far from complete. we must also make certain that the f.a.a. remains as vigilant on other safety priorities, the oversight of airline operations, and the maintenance, reducing runway incursions and air traffic controller staffing issues. just as with modernization, w must make sure that the f.a.a.

John Rockefeller

6:22:51 to 6:23:12( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: has the tool and -- tools and the resources to accomplish these safety objectives. i'm especially proud of the safety title that we have developed and included in this bill 1451. this title will do the following, in part -- address pilot fatigue by mandating the

John Rockefeller

6:23:13 to 6:23:36( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: f.a.a. revise flight and duty time limitations based on the latest scientific research. ensure one level of safety exists throughout the commercial aircraft operations by requiring that all carriers adopt aviation safety standards.

John Rockefeller

6:23:37 to 6:23:57( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: the bill also requires stronger safety oversight of foreign repair stations, which is a very controversial subject. there are a relatively small percentage of air maintenance. most of it is done in this country, but there is some argument as to how well it's done overseas.

John Rockefeller

6:23:58 to 6:24:18( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: these are critical measures that will help us identify safety issues and prevent problems before they occur, and this is the best way to address safety. a word on community air service. the state i come from is not large. in fact, it's small and it's rural, but it's important and

John Rockefeller

6:24:19 to 6:24:40( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: it's a good place. we need to keep america's small communities connected to the rest of the world. if one lives in a rural state or in a rural part of a rural state, one is no less important if one lives on fifth avenue in new york city. the nature of the people is the same.

John Rockefeller

6:24:41 to 6:25:03( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: the entrepreneurship may be the same. but access to international aviation or transcontinental aviation is not the same. the continuing economic crisis has hit the united states airline industry very, very hard. they are in and out of bankruptcy. we have all read about that. they are cutting back on things that they offer, that they used

John Rockefeller

6:25:04 to 6:25:25( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: to offer in flight and don't now. and we grump about it, but there is a reason that they do that so i don't grump about it. and this affects the future of hundreds of rural communities across our country. in their effort to cut costs, air carriers have drasticcally reduced service to small or isolated communities. from a business point of view, i

John Rockefeller

6:25:26 to 6:25:47( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: guess that makes sense. from my policy point of view, that doesn't make sense and it's not fair. they are the fst routes to go, the rural ones, and they go in tough economic times, and that's where we are right now. the reduction or elimination of air service has a devastating effect on the economy of a community. having adequate air service is

John Rockefeller

6:25:48 to 6:26:08( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: not just a matter of convenience but also a matter of economic survival. without access to reliable air service, no business is willing to locate their operation in these areas of the country, no matter what the attractive quality of life. airports are economic engines that attract critical new

John Rockefeller

6:26:09 to 6:26:31( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: development opportunities and jobs. the federal government needs to provide additional resources and tools for small communities to help them attract adequate air service. my legislation does this, our legislation does this by building o existing programs and strengthening them. authorizing funding for the

John Rockefeller

6:26:32 to 6:26:53( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: essential air service program is increased to $175 million annual ly. the bill also extends the small community air service development program. incredibly important for small airports. this program has provided dozens of communities with the resources necessary to attract

John Rockefeller

6:26:54 to 6:27:14( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: and retain air service. in conclusion, when i began work on this bill, i had four simple goals. one, take steps to address the critical safety concerns. that was always number one, always will be. two, to establish a road map for

John Rockefeller

6:27:15 to 6:27:36( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: the implementation of nextgen and aelerate the f.a.a.'s key modernization programs. three, make certain we adequately invest in airport infrastructure. and four, continue to improve small communities' access to the nation's aviation system. i believe we have worked hard in a truly bipartisan fashion with

John Rockefeller

6:27:37 to 6:27:58( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: senators dorgan, obviously senator kay bailey hutchison from texas, senator demint from south carolina to develop a bill that i thinkdvances these goals and which all of my colleagues can support. this bill is not being held up and there is a reason for that. we worked our problems out early. this bill takes the steps needed

John Rockefeller

6:27:59 to 6:28:19( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: to advance the system. the f.a.a. must be provided with the tools, the resources and the clear direction and deadlines to make sure that the agency provides effective oversight of the aviation industry itself. i think we all recognize tha the u.s. must significantly expand capacity oour nation's

John Rockefeller

6:28:20 to 6:28:40( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: air transportation system. there are no quick or easy solutions to the problem, and i believe that our situation is going to get worse before it gets better. but we do have to take the actions that we can right now. we cannot ignore the aviation system anymore.

John Rockefeller

6:28:41 to 6:29:01( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: we cannot float on nice memories of a glorious past. the united states is losing its sition as the global leader on aviation. the american public is not happy with the aviation system or with us. we must move boldly, just as we have with our investments in high-speed rail, or risk losing

John Rockefeller

6:29:02 to 6:29:23( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: our leadershiin the world. given the challenges our nation's aviation system faces, we must act now, mr. president, to pass s. 1451, the f.a.a. air transportation modernization and safety improvement act.

John Rockefeller

6:29:24 to 6:29:47( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: before i yield to senator hutchison, i ask unanimous consent that the following finance committee fellows and interns be accorded floor privileges for the consideration of the f.a.a. bill: a disevment lin baker, mary baker, brittany dur religion, scott matthews, greg sullivan,

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