STATEMENT OF ADMINISTRATION POLICY
H.R. 658 – FAA Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2011
(Rep. Mica, R-Florida and 24 others)
The Administration supports House passage of H.R. 658 as a necessary step in the enactment of a multiyear reauthorization of the Department of Transportation’s aviation programs to enhance safety, increase capacity, reduce passenger delays, and provide for the timely development and implementation of the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen). The restoration of predictable long-term funding for aviation programs is not only critical to the safety of the traveling public, but will improve the Nation’s transportation infrastructure and generate new jobs and economic growth. While the Administration supports the enactment of a multiyear reauthorization bill, the funding levels in the bill for Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) operations and air traffic modernization represent significant reductions from levels proposed by the Administration. If funding were appropriated at the levels proposed in the bill, the safe and efficient movement of air traffic in the air and on the ground would be degraded – today and in the future.
The Administration reiterates its strong opposition to Section 903 of H.R. 658 which, like legislation that the Administration strongly opposed last year, would undermine a fundamental principle of fairness in union representation elections – that outcomes should be determined by a majority of the valid ballots cast. By treating non-votes as “no” votes, the provision would prohibit workers in the airline and railroad industries from voting whether to join a union on the same basis – majority rule – as most other industries. The Administration is committed to help working Americans exercise their right to organize under a fair and free process and bargain for a fair share of the wealth their efforts help to create. The fairest and most effective way to determine the outcome of a union representation election is by the majority of votes cast.
If the President is presented with a bill that would not safeguard the ability of railroad and airline workers to decide whether or not they would be represented by a union based upon a majority of the ballots cast in an election or that would degrade safe and efficient air traffic, his senior advisers would recommend that he veto the bill. The Administration wishes to address these and other concerns as FAA reauthorization legislation moves through the legislative process.