FAA Deal: Obama Cannot Unilaterally Fund Pork

August 05, 2011

AFP VP Policy Phil Kerpen issued the following statement on the reported FAA deal:

Senate Democrats shut down the FAA to block a House-passed long-term extension over special interest union provisions. They blocked a short-term extension to protect egregious pork-barrel spending for rural airports with almost no passengers under the Essential Air Service.

Now, a “deal” has been announced under which the Senate will pass the House’s short-term extension, but the president will somehow keep the pork dollars flowing, in plain violation of what the law says and the basic constitutional principle of separation of powers.

The White House has promised to “waive or negate the cuts” according to the Associated Press. President Obama cannot unilaterally fund pork. This is unacceptable and we urge Obama to instead follow the law and allow this wasteful pork spending to end.

UPDATE: It is now being reported that Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is abusing the waiver provision of the extension to issue a blanket waiver to protect pork spending.

The waiver provision says:

‘‘(d) WAIVERS.—The Secretary may waive subsection (a)(1)(B) with respect to a location if the Secretary determines that the geographic characteristics of the location result in undue difficulty in accessing the nearest medium or large hub airport.’’.

AFP’s Kerpen says:

The provision is narrow and does not creation discretion for a blanket waiver to advance Democratic political objectives. What are the “geographic characteristics” of Morgantown, WV (just 60 miles from Pittsburgh International Airport) other than being represented by a prominent Democratic senator who forced an FAA shutdown? This is outright abuse of power.

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