Keep the Heartland Flying (9/25)

Keep the Heartland Flying
Late last week, we passed the much publicized Airline Assistance Package (HR 2696).  The bill provides financial assistance to our nation's airlines who were hit hard after the September 11th attack on America. A little known provision of the Airline Assistance Bill is a section that clearly outlines the need to continue air service in rural America.  My colleague, Rep. Bob Goodlatte (VA) worked with both Co-Chairs of the Congressional Rural Caucus (myself and Rep. Eva Clayton (NC)) worked together and successfully secured language to "ensure that all communities that had scheduled air service before September 11, 2001 continue to receive adequate air transportation service to smaller communities without interruption." President Bush signed the legislation on Saturday, September 22, 2001.

This week, Congress continues to focus it energies on airline safety.  In the last two days, legislation has been introduced and hearings have been held on a number of issues including: federalizing airport security, securing cockpit doors, arming pilots, limiting carry-on baggage, and updating flight attendant hijacking training.  Finally, as we approached the end of the business day, Congress was finishing up Appropriations work before moving on to the last piece of legislation we'll consider before returning back to the district for the remainder of the week-- authorizing spending for our nation's defense.