Press Release of U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer

For Immediate Release:
May 6, 2008  
Washington D.C. Office (202) 224-3553

Boxer: Obstructionism Means More Delays for Airline Passengers  

U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) today made the following statement after Republican Senators blocked the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act, legislation to modernize the FAA and our air traffic control system, improve safety inspections, and protect the rights of the flying public.Boxer and Menendez on FAA Bill

“This is a sad day in the U.S. Senate.  Today, Senate Republicans showed that, even as people sit in airports waiting for planes that never take off, even as passengers are forced to sit on places for six, seven, eight, nine hours without access to food or clean water or clean toilets or their medicines, and even as our air traffic controllers are fatigued and overstretched, even given all of those things, the Republicans are still willing to obstruct.

“Our Republican colleagues like to say that they're the party that should be trusted with America's security.  But today, they voted against giving our air traffic controllers a new satellite-based navigation system to keep our aviation system safe.  They voted against establishing independent review and investigation of safety issues.  They voted against ensuring that FAA’s local and regional offices are alerted to overdue inspections.  They voted against closing the revolving door between FAA and the airlines.  And they voted against provisions to reduce runway incursions and require FAA to finalize a rule on fuel tank flammability, something that was a priority of the NTSB.  

“And last, but certainly not least, they voted against helping our air passengers when they're stranded on the tarmac.

“I want the American people to understand this:  The next time they are stranded on an airplane and they are wondering why they can’t get off the plane or why they don't have food or water after four hours sitting there, it’s, frankly, because of Republican obstructionism in the United States Senate.

“Rather than protecting the American people and ensuring that we have the safest aviation system possible, Senate Republicans once again chose to take their marching orders from President Bush.  Rather than make the changes necessary to protect our people, they chose the status quo again.

“Today’s vote just means more delays for the flying public and, frankly, skies that are not as safe as they should be.”