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Election Analysis: Tuesday with ARSA

Change on Capitol Hill: What does it Mean for the Aviation Maintenance Industry?

As ARSA’s legislative team continues to analyze the midterm election results and awaits the outcome of several tight contests, the Republicans are poised to pick up seats in the House of Representatives and take over the Senate majority.

“Over 300,000 Americans work for aviation maintenance providers. They generate $44 billion in economic activity for our country. The association and its members look forward to working with the next Congress on their behalf to ensure the industry continues to grow and create jobs,” said ARSA’s Vice President of Legislative Affairs Daniel B. Fisher.  “By avoiding the temptation to place unnecessary burdens on the aviation maintenance sector, Congress will allow U.S. repair stations to build upon their exemplary safety record and remain internationally competitive.”

How will new congressional leadership impact the aviation maintenance sector’s top priorities?  ARSA legislative provided early analysis of several key policy areas:

  • Aviation Policy: With the FAA Modernization Reform Act set to expire on Sept. 30, 2015, the next Congress will be tasked with FAA reauthorization.  Generally, Republicans have been less susceptible to the kinds of false safety and economic arguments that resulted in proposals to micromanage repair stations, although with so many new faces, ARSA will be working overtime to familiarize lawmakers with the industry.  While many of the key players will be the same, ARSA is keeping a close eye on new leaders on the Transportation & Infrastructure (T&I) Committee and the Commerce, Science & Transportation Committee.  Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) is poised to become the House T&I Ranking Member.  In the past, DeFazio has been aggressive in offering unnecessary proposals that would burden repair stations.  On the other hand, Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) will likely take over the Senate Commerce, Science & Transportation Committee’s top Democratic spot.  Nelson understands the aviation maintenance industry’s economic impact – particularly in his home state of Florida, and has a relatively clean slate on aviation maintenance policy issues.
  • Regulatory Reform: There is no doubt that a GOP Senate majority will look to cut bureaucratic red tape and attempt to make government more efficient.  Reforms to the Regulatory Flexibility Act and the Administrative Procedures Act to strengthen small business protections during the rulemaking process are ripe for consideration and should be a top priority for Republicans in both chambers.
  • Tax: Nearly every Republican candidate made lowering the tax burden a top issue during the 2014 campaign.  It’s expected that both the House and Senate tax-writing committees will release proposals to reform the Internal Revenue Code. Congressional Republicans are less inclined to increase taxes on the commercial, general, and business aviation sectors. ARSA will continue to advocate for a pro-growth tax agenda that simplifies and adds certainty to the code while incentivizing capital investments.  Additionally, any reduction in corporate tax rates should be matched with similar cuts in the rates for pass-throughs and S-Corps.
  • FAA Funding:  Repair stations rely on the FAA for congressionally-mandated certifications and inspections. Failing to provide the agency sufficient resources results in administrative delays and ultimately undermines the competitiveness of the U.S. aviation industry.  While incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has pledged to ensure there will not be another government shutdown, Republican caucus members are certainly going to be chomping at the bit to cut government spending. Nonetheless, while increases in agency resources are unlikely in the near-term, GOP lawmakers hope to show the American people that they can govern.  One way to do that is to keep the government functioning and avoiding polarizing budget showdowns.

With only 733 days until the 2016 election, the window is short for legislative accomplishments on Capitol Hill.  By this time next year, the nation will be gearing up for the presidential race and the balance of power in congress will once again be up for grabs.

 



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