BY MOLLY MCMILLIN
Congressional sources say they are hopeful language that could cripple the general aviation industry will be stripped from a bill that is making its way through the House of Representatives.
Rep. Todd Tiahrt, R-Goddard, said in a release Tuesday that he has filed an amendment to the Troubled Assets Relief Program Reform and Accountability Act of 2009. It would remove a provision that would require companies to divest of their private aircraft or leases when they receive bailout money.
Congressman Barney Frank, D-Mass., chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, on Friday introduced what Tiahrt calls “job-killing bill language.”
It was in response to criticism chief executives of the top three U.S. automakers received when they flew business jets to Washington to ask for government assistance.
“If this bill is going to stay true to its stated purpose, that is, to stimulate the economy, then it should not threaten to kill high-paying, high-quality American manufacturing jobs,” Tiahrt said in a release.
Sen. Sam Brownback’s office issued a statement Tuesday afternoon erroneously saying the language had been successfully stripped from the bill, but the office later said it had jumped the gun.
“It’s our understanding from multiple sources that it’s going to be removed,” Brownback spokesman Brian Hart said later Tuesday.
The House Committee on Rules will hear debate today on which amendments to allow to be considered by the House. The House is expected to vote on the rule committee’s decision and on the full bill Thursday.
Rep. Dennis Moore, D-Overland Park, a member of the House Financial Services Committee, said he’s been working with Frank to strengthen the accountability and oversight of the relief program and raised concerns about the business jet requirement.
Moore said in a statement Tuesday that he received word that Frank has stripped out the provision. However, the ban for use by automakers receiving funds was left in the bill, Moore said.
The general aviation industry is suffering from the effects of an economic downturn.
Cessna Aircraft said this week that it is reducing production and cutting 2,000 jobs — a second round of cuts in a month for the city’s largest employer. Hawker Beechcraft last week also warned of more job cuts to come.
In November, Hawker Beechcraft laid off 5 percent of its work force, about 490 people.
Source: WICHITA EAGLE