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Senate Proceeding on Jul 28th, 2010 :: 6:10:05 to 6:27:55
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Byron Dorgan

6:10:04 to 6:10:26( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: to the american people, it's very important to that we pass this legislation and we have been waiting and waiting and waiting and we continue to wait. it's cled the reauthorization of the federal aviation administration bill. we've been working on this for a long, long time. this is not just reauthorization for some bureaucracy. this is about

Byron Dorgan

6:10:05 to 6:27:55( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Byron Dorgan

Byron Dorgan

6:10:27 to 6:10:49( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: today. and let me put up a chart that shows where the airplanes are in the skies today. and describe -- chart on that that describes the number of flights in this country. the air is literally packed with airplanes flying all across this country, and the question is,

Byron Dorgan

6:10:50 to 6:11:10( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: how are they ground-based radar system keeping track of all these flights. this is a map that shows the airplanes that are flying in the country at a given time. very crowded skies. and this f.a. reauthorization bill has a lot to do with safety. and the reason it's so important

Byron Dorgan

6:11:11 to 6:11:35( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: about the safety piece first, then i'm going talk about why it's been blocked and how we finally get some action on this and why i've finally had a bellyful of trying to persuade people to pass legislation that is critly important in this country. let me remind all my colleagues

Byron Dorgan

6:11:36 to 6:11:56( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: about february 12 last year. february 12 last year was the tragic crash of colgan air flight 3407. that crash should not have happened. that crash took the lives of 45 passengers, two flight attendants, two pilots, and one

Byron Dorgan

6:11:57 to 6:12:18( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: person on the ground. should never, ever have happened. the families of the victims of colgan air been to every hearing i've held on safety dealing with aviation. they've been at every moment here in the capitol building

Byron Dorgan

6:12:19 to 6:12:39( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: office to office, door to door saying "pass this legislation to reauthorize the f.a.a., including the dramatic safety changes that we propose." they provided a chartboard that shows photographs of their loved ones, those that climbed on that airplane that evening, to fly

Byron Dorgan

6:12:40 to 6:13:01( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: from new york laguardia to buffalo, new york. a night flight on a bombardier dash 8. during that flight, icing i've read the transcript. in that cockpit between the pilot and the copilot -- let me

Byron Dorgan

6:13:02 to 6:13:22( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: describe a couple of things we learned. the young pilot lived in seattle, washington, and commuted to work to laguardia, new york. she deadheaded all night long on a fedex plane spping in memphis, landed in laguardia, no evidence that she slept, and

Byron Dorgan

6:13:23 to 6:13:44( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: then she boarded an airplane to haul passengers to buffalo, new york. that was the copilot. the copilot, i understand, earned somewhere around $20,000, $22,000 a year and had a second job at a coffee shop to make ends meet and my undstanding is lived with her parents. that's the copiment. the pilot commuted from --

Byron Dorgan

6:13:45 to 6:14:05( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: that's the copilot. the pilot commuted from florida. no evidence the pilot slept the night before. he spent time in the crew lounge where there is no bed. that pilot boarded the same plane. that raises issues about fatigue and commuting. commuting all night to haul passengers. when you read the transcript in

Byron Dorgan

6:14:06 to 6:14:26( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: that cockpit there were very serious issues about training. stick pusher an the stick shake he and flying into ice and not following procedures. all of these issues. and so 45 passengers died that night.

Byron Dorgan

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

Byron Dorgan: and the question is, is there one level of safety in this country when you get on an airplane? and you fluke that cockpit is there one level of safety if you're on a large, major carrier versus a small regional carrier? do you have the same experience in the cockpit, the same level of training? where have the crews come from? did they fly all night all

Byron Dorgan

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

Byron Dorgan: across the country just to get to their work station? well, the colgan crash told us a lot. here's what happened that evening. ice on the wings. this was the crash site near buffalo, new york, on february

Byron Dorgan

6:15:14 to 6:15:37( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: 12, 2009. another photograph of the crash site. this crash should never have happened. those victims should not have died. they should have been safely on the ground with their loved ones. well, let me at least describe a

Byron Dorgan

6:15:38 to 6:15:59( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: few things that i fatigue. clearly that played a role. here's a quote nbc news ran from a pilot on a 737 jet flying to denver, thofplt. here -- denver, colorado. here's what the pilot said on the television -- quote -- "i've been doing everything in my power to stay awake.

Byron Dorgan

6:16:00 to 6:16:20( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: but as we entered one of the most critical phases of flight, i'd been up for 20 straight hours." fatigue? is this someone in a working condition that is sharp, on edge, landing a p perh another quote from an 18-year veteran pilot describing the

Byron Dorgan

6:16:21 to 6:16:43( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: routine of commuter flights with short layovers in the middle of the night. "take a shower, brush your teeth and pretend you slept," he said. "that's the way it another quote from a pilot "i was bathed in sweat and scared to death. an 18 year veteran pilot

Byron Dorgan

6:16:44 to 6:17:04( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: describing the approach to a runway after numerou early-morninglights." here's a photograph of a pilot crash pad. a pilot watches the movie on his computer at a crash house in sterling park, virginia, not far from this capitol building. the houses which can hav 20 or

Byron Dorgan

6:17:05 to 6:17:26( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: 24 occupants at aime are designed to give flight crews from regional airlines a quiet place to sleep near their base airports. many can't afford h they use crash houses where they pay generally $200 a month for a bed. i described the young lady who was the copilot on

Byron Dorgan

6:17:27 to 6:17:47( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: colgan air, that crash. as i said, she commuted from seattle,washington to laguardia airport in new york all night long to get to her duty station. no evidence that she had slept in a bed. questi the hearings i held, i held up this chart just to show where

Byron Dorgan

6:17:48 to 6:18:08( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: the colgan pilots were commuting from, flying on that particular regional airline. flying out of new york, laguardia new york, you can see where they're commuting from. their home station is in los angeles. it's in seattle, in texas. and they commute to work all the way across the country. i describe these charts only to

Byron Dorgan

6:18:09 to 6:18:29( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: talk about one investigation of the colgan crash, and that is fatigue and rest. crew rest. so we have a piece of legislation that addresses a number of these issues. what is the experience of the pilot in the cockpit?

Byron Dorgan

6:18:30 to 6:18:51( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: how many hours must that pilot have of relevant experience and training to sit in that cockpit and haul passengers on a commercial airplane? we address that. and so many other critical areas of safety. that's in the f.a. reauthorization bill, a piece of legislation we passed in the senate commerce committee long ago.

Byron Dorgan

6:18:52 to 6:19:14( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: now awaitin action on the floor of the senate. and yet, we've not been able to get it done. i want to talk a little about the importance of this legislation. number one, it creates job. it's investment in infrastructure. the airport improvement

Byron Dorgan

6:19:15 to 6:19:35( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: this infrastructure of this country. let me describe the central elements. airport improvement program. that's jobs. aviaon safety, i just touched on that. air traffic control modernization. it includes the passenger bill of rights, small community air service. let me talk just for a moment about air traffic control

Byron Dorgan

6:19:36 to 6:19:56( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: modernization. i showed a chart with all of those airplan in the air. the fact is every single passenger on every one of those planes could be flying in safer conditions now if we were moving as we should with this bill in modernizing the air traffic control system. our kids carry cell phones

Byron Dorgan

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

Byron Dorgan: around that have g.p.s. capability on their cell phones. most of the commercial airline tphers this country are flying -- airline tphers -- airliners in this country don't have what our kids have on our cell phones that would allow them to fly safer rous, fly

Byron Dorgan

6:20:19 to 6:20:39( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: moreirect routes. the modernization of the air traffic control system is long overdue and it has a loto do with aviation safety. it is in this bill. and this bill must get done. to not me forward on this -- the europeans are and others -- to not move forward on this and

Byron Dorgan

6:20:40 to 6:21:00( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: fall behind is unthinkable to me. the passenger bill of rights? we include the passenger bill of rights in this bill, and it says some very important things. the passenger bill of rights says that they're not going to be able to keep you on an airplane six or eight hours when they have trouble on the runway and you sit out on the tarmac for six or eight hours.

Byron Dorgan

6:21:01 to 6:21:22( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: three hours. we set the conditions under which under the passengers bill of rights, airplanes -- that is the aircraft companies, the airline companies -- must comply with the rules that we've established. this legislation provides consumer benefits for 700 million plane trips per year

Byron Dorgan

6:21:23 to 6:21:43( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: taken by the american people. we around this country. passengers stuck on the tarmac for six hours, eight hours; bathrooms not working, out of water. the fact is this bill will improve the disclosure of flight

Byron Dorgan

6:21:44 to 6:22:05( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: information to passengers, imposes certain burdens on the airlines themselves, and it's the right approach. all of these things are in this f.a.a. reauthorization bill. now what's holding up the bill? well, first and foremost, here in the united states senate we passed the bill with the understanding that there's a controversy called slots and

Byron Dorgan

6:22:06 to 6:22:26( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: perimeter rules at washington national airport. we understood that bill passed, when we passed it through the senate 93-0, we understood we didn't resolve the slot and perimeter rule issue. the house has additional slots at d.c. national. but we didn't do anything on it. we didn't do zero.

Byron Dorgan

6:22:27 to 6:22:47( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: weust understood we passed the bill and would negotiate it later. and so we passed the bill and negotiations have ensued. now we've got several different representations by people saying, well, i represent my area, my region, my airport, my this, my that, and, therefore, i object. you know what? it's just fine to represent your interest and your region, but

Byron Dorgan

6:22:48 to 6:23:08( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: it's not fine bill. it is just not fine to block this bill. in fact, the latest discussions that have been held are with respect to slots at d.c. airport, are 16 additional slots, not new flights in or out of d.c. national aport. not new flights, but flights

Byron Dorgan

6:23:09 to 6:23:31( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: that would have flown within the perimeter that would now fly outside the perimeter. i know that is a description that is lost on most people because this perimeter rule limits the number of miles that you can fly from d.c. national airport. this would convert flights inside the perimeter to some flights outside the perimeter, 16 flights.

Byron Dorgan

6:23:32 to 6:23:52( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: so it's no new traffic to d.c. national. those that have opposed it have --proepd have said we -- those that have proposed it have said we would have the same size airplanes flying the flights. yet we have massive amounts of controversy and here with people saying i'm going to block this, i'm going to block that. let me just say this, if you

Byron Dorgan

6:23:53 to 6:24:14( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: care much about safety, safety in the skies, and at long last want to pass an f.a.a. bill to improve safety, if you care about the airport improvement funds and investing in infrastructure and airports and runways and building the infrastructure and creating tens and tens of thousands of jobs, if you care about small-community air service and the passenger bill of rights, and especially if you care about

Byron Dorgan

6:24:15 to 6:24:35( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: having america keep up with air traffic control modernization, then you can't possibly be blocking this bill. you just can't. and i'm not going to describe who it is, names and so on, but this is not about democrats or repuicans or conservatives or liberals. this is about are we going to fail again?

Byron Dorgan

6:24:36 to 6:24:56( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: i've watched so many failures because people have decided they're going to block this or that. in fact, what we've had in this entire congress is one side of the aisle has been blocking most everything for a long period of time. this bill happens to be bipartisan. there's no excuse and no reason to be blocking this legislation.

Byron Dorgan

6:24:57 to 6:25:19( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: now, it appears to me a couple things are likely to happen. if interests that have been involved in these discussions continue to block this, this bill will fail and the american people will be flying in skies that are less safe than they could be. we will not have made the improvents that we should make. we will not make the investments

Byron Dorgan

6:25:20 to 6:25:41( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: and create the jobs that we should cree. and i suppose those that block it will think they've done something meritorious for the country. they will not have. they will injure this country's interests. my hope will be that in the coming couple of days those that have said that they are going to block this legislation will

Byron Dorgan

6:25:42 to 6:26:03( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: think again and understand that this only works, this place only works through compromise. it only works if we're willing to understand that everybody has different views on these things, and let's find a way to effectively compromise and pass legislation that strengthe this count. and if i sound a little irritated, i am irritated

Byron Dorgan

6:26:04 to 6:26:24( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: because i've just had a belly full of the intransigence that exists in this chamber. nobody fights harder for their interests than i do, but i also understand having served here long enough that there's a need to make this place work by being willing to compromise your interests, compromise your interests in a fair way.

Byron Dorgan

6:26:25 to 6:26:46( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: we have gone at this now for some weeks. it's been some long while since the senate passed this bill. it is very close to a point where i believe we will not have the time to continue working on this, and what we will see is this bill once again will fail. and we will extend once again the f.a. reauthorization bill, extend it for a short time, then

Byron Dorgan

6:26:47 to 6:27:07( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: extend it until the next congress. god bless everybody that dug their heels in and decided they could only live with what they could live with and couldt compromise, but you know what? they've done no favor to this country. all of them can chew on that for awhile. my hope is that in the coming days the families and victims of

Byron Dorgan

6:27:08 to 6:27:28( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: colgan air will perhaps have some ability to influence those who want to block this legislation. perhaps those who are out of work and would get work with the airport improvement fund investments and so on, perhaps they would be persuasive to those who want to block this legislation. maybe those who care about continued air service to small communities, maybe they'd have some ability to influence them.

Byron Dorgan

6:27:29 to 6:27:49( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: maybe those who care about the passengers bill of rights, at long last the passengers bill of rights, maybe they'll be persuasive. one way or another i just hope finally we'll see if there is some public spirit in this in this chamber and also some interest in doing the right thing and pass the f.a. reauthorization bill. mr. president, i understand my colleague from kansas is here

Byron Dorgan

6:27:50 to 6:27:55( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: ready to speak. i have some other things to say about this subject, but i'm going to defer that until later.

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