Today concludes another busy week for ALPA on Capitol Hill – with key votes occurring in the Senate and ALPA grassroots activists coming out in full force both in D.C. and at home.
On Monday, we learned that the Senate planned to vote to reauthorize the Export-Import bank and expand the Bank’s lending authority. ALPA has been adamant that any reauthorization protect U.S. pilot jobs by requiring the Bank to conduct an economic effects analysis for all of its potential financings. Congress must ensure that, with respect to each transaction, the impact of widebody aircraft financing for foreign carriers is, in fact, a net positive for U.S. industry and employees. Additionally, the Administration should be directed to enter into negotiations with the five European countries with export credit agencies that support Airbus aircraft sales with the goal of eliminating ALL export credit agency financing of widebody aircraft.
Captain Moak has outlined these proposals in a letter to all Senators, and this week hundreds of ALPA pilots called their Senators’ offices to urge them to protect pilot jobs in the reauthorization. On Tuesday, the Senate voted down a procedural measure that would have allowed the Ex-Im reauthorization to move forward, effectively blocking the Bank’s reauthorization. However, our work on this issue is far from over as the Bank’s charter still needs to be extended or reauthorized by the end of May. ALPA will continue the fight to protect pilot jobs in this bill, and with the strength of our membership behind us, we are confident that we can succeed.
ALPA pilots were also in Washington this week to lobby Congress to support of the FFDO program. Pilots held more than a dozen meetings with influential Senate offices. These meetings provided an opportunity to educate Senators on the efficiency and importance of the FFDO program, and to urge them to support the program it in the FY13 budget. In addition to these meetings, more than 3,000 ALPA pilots have contacted Congress in support of this program, and the cumulative effect of all these advocacy efforts has been very effective.
Finally, ALPA submitted written testimony to a Senate Commerce hearing on commercial airline safety. In the testimony, ALPA highlighted the importance of the FFDO program and other security initiatives such as Known Crew Member, Threatened Airspace Management, Cargo Security, and combatting Laser Threats. You can read the full testimony here.