It is our understanding that Senator McCain intends to offer an amendment to strip the Inouye-Stevens language on airline foreign control in the supplemental spending bill this week. On behalf of transportation labor, I urge you to oppose the McCain amendment.
The bipartisan Inouye-Stevens language was adopted by voice vote during committee consideration of the bill in order to send a message to the Department of Transportation (DOT) that there is considerable concern about and opposition to its proposal to alter long-standing rules governing foreign control of U.S. airlines. The language specifically prohibits the DOT from using funds to implement a final rule to change foreign control rules through September 30. Both Senator Inouye and Senator Stevens spoke in favor of the amendment and insisted that if this language was not included, the Administration could move to implement this change without Senate consideration or input. The McCain amendment defies the bipartisan intent of the Appropriations Committee.
The Committee action delivered a strong message to the DOT that more careful scrutiny of its intentions is needed. In fact, as a direct result of the Inouye-Stevens language, the Commerce Committee has scheduled a hearing on the issue of foreign control of U.S. airlines next week. While transportation labor has vigorously opposed the Administration’s proposal on foreign control, it is a fact that the language included in the supplemental has forced a dialogue between Congress and the DOT. We should let that process work. The McCain amendment would send a confusing message and set the stage for a dangerous shift in U.S. aviation policy that would threaten the industry and its workers.
We urge you to reject and vote against the McCain amendment and allow the will of the Committee and Congress to prevail.