FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Hastily Conceived Plan Sidesteps Congressional Oversight
Washington, D.C. . . . The following statement was issued today by Edward Wytkind, President of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), in response to a Bush administration proposal to expand the role of foreign interests in the U.S. airline industry.
“With all the troubles facing U.S. airlines and their employees, including a severe pension crisis, inexplicably the best idea the Administration could come up with is to begin selling-off yet another American industry to foreign interests.
“The Administration’s proposal to relax rules governing the foreign ownership and control of U.S. airlines – clearly an effort to placate the European Union – is a dramatic departure from longstanding aviation policy that has not been fully examined and understood. We are stunned that the Administration would try to unilaterally implement such a far-reaching measure without honoring the role of Congress in shaping U.S. international aviation policy.
“The fact is that the current rules and limitations on foreign ownership and control have served our aviation system well by protecting vital American interests while permitting measured foreign participation in our airlines. The burden of proof is on the Administration to present its case as to why these rules should be changed. Simply unveiling a proposal and giving parties a mere 60 days to comment, without any role for Congress, is inadequate in protecting the public interest.
“The Administration’s proposal reads like a down payment to those who believe America’s aviation market – the world’s largest and most lucrative – should be sold off to foreign interests without regard for the aviation industry and its employees. In fact, just hours after the plan’s unveiling certain foreign interests complained that it didn’t go far enough. We can only imagine how the Bush proposal might evolve if foreign lobbyists have their way.
“The Bush Administration should immediately suspend this proposal and permit the appropriate committees in Congress to perform their vital oversight functions and determine what changes in aviation policy, if any, are needed. If the Administration refuses to stand down, we urge Congress to move quickly to bar any proposal on foreign ownership and control from being implemented. Congress cannot permit this Administration to stand on its head almost 70 years of aviation policy without even a debate.”
TTD represents 29 member unions in the aviation, rail, transit, trucking, highway, longshore, maritime and related industries. For more information, visit www.ttd.org.