American aviation needs to be reformed, but Congress is considering taking a sledgehammer approach to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that could cripple our entire aviation industry. The FAA reauthorization bill, H.R. 4441, goes against key conservative principles of low taxation, limited government, and fundamental fairness. As laid out in an op-ed I wrote for The Hill, H.R. 4441 would separate air traffic control from the FAA and place it under the control of a new regulatory entity run by a board of 11 aviation and union stakeholders that would have the power to issue rules and regulations and levy taxes and fees on aviators and the traveling public. This proposal as written does not focus on smart solutions to specific problems, but on picking winners and losers in America’s airspace and increasing fees and taxes to finance a new regulatory entity, all while taking away Congress’s constitutional power of the purse.
As a conservative, I support free market principles and believe the private sector provides solutions that the federal government cannot. But H.R. 4441 is not a private-sector solution. It is a reckless attempt to turn over air traffic control to a private, government-endorsed monopoly designed to benefit special interests at the expense of the American people. A recent study released by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) confirms that this proposal would be a high-risk gamble that could cause serious problems for America’s aviation industry. The GAO found that this proposal could jeopardize system safety, create uninsurable liabilities, restrict access, and negatively affect rural and small communities.
When it comes to reforming the way our skies are regulated, we must be certain that we do not create more problems than we solve. We have an opportunity to make needed, beneficial, conservative reforms to the FAA that will reinforce our air traffic control system’s position as the best in the world. Allowing H.R. 4441 to move forward as proposed means missing such an opportunity.
Congressman Mike Pompeo is a third term congressman from the 4th District. He graduated first in his class from West Point in 1986 and then served as a cavalry officer patrolling the Iron Curtain before the fall of the Berlin Wall. He also served with the 2nd Squadron, 7th Cavalry in the Fourth Infantry Division.
After leaving active duty, Mike graduated from Harvard Law School having been an editor of the Harvard Law Review. Mike later returned to his mother’s family roots in South Central Kansas and founded Thayer Aerospace, where he served as CEO for more than a decade providing components for commercial and military aircraft. He then became President of Sentry International, an oilfield equipment manufacturing, distribution, and service company.
Mike serves on two major committees: Energy and Commerce, which oversees energy, health care, manufacturing, and telecommunications, and the House Intelligence Committee, which oversees America’s intelligence-gathering efforts. Earlier in 2014, he was also appointed to the House Select Benghazi Committee to investigate the tragic events in Benghazi, Libya.