WASHINGTON, D.C. – February 12, 2016 – (RealEstateRama) — Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), a senior member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, today got wins on two amendments during the committee’s markup of a controversial bill to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Norton’s amendment prohibiting the use of electronic cigarettes and vaping devices for smoking on airplanes passed with bipartisan support (33-26), and she defeated an amendment to expand the perimeter for flights at Reagan National Airport.
Representative Blake Farenthold (R-TX) withdrew his amendment after receiving strong bipartisan opposition from Norton and Representative Barbara Comstock (R-VA). Norton said she will closely analyze the updated FAA reauthorization bill.
Norton said that she regrets having to oppose the FAA reauthorization bill itself. She said, however, that the bill has many unacceptable flaws. For example, the private corporation that would assume authority over the nation’s Air Traffic Control System would be dominated by the airlines and their allies, leaving a vital industry to regulate itself for the first time in U.S. history. Moreover, Norton said the reauthorization bill would sever Air Traffic controllers from the FAA and would gift resources paid for by taxpayers to a private corporation.
“I am pleased with the several provisions for the District that I was able to get into the base FAA reauthorization bill despite my opposition to the current version,” Norton said. “I was especially pleased by the progress I made on my two major priorities. I got the bill I introduced last year to ban the use of electronic cigarettes and vaping devices for smoking on airplanes into this bill, which will help it pass even if this FAA bill does not pass. Beating back a provision, to commandeer space at Reagan National Airport for planes traveling long distances, one that is all too typical in Congress, was especially important. Taxpayers have spent billions to expand space at Dulles International Airport for flights traveling beyond 1,250 miles and international flights. Yet, all the growth has been at Reagan for the convenience of Members of Congress from the West Coast and other long-distance destinations. This is the first time since I have been in Congress that we have made progress reinforcing the perimeter rule that limits long-haul flights into Reagan.”