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Long Battle on FAA Bill Ends in Victory against Privatization - (11/21/2003)

CONTACT: Doug Church, 301.346.8245

WASHINGTON – The following statement was released this evening by National Air Traffic Controllers Association President John Carr on Senate passage of the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill:

“The American flying public can breathe a sigh of relief for now. Congress has declared that selling out air traffic control to the lowest bidder will not be tolerated. From day one this has been about safety and safety has finally won. Now it’s up to all of us concerned about the safety of our skies to make sure that the Administration sticks to its promise not to privatize. Actions speak louder than words and rest assured that we will be watching.

“It’s been a long, remarkable road since July. We thank the tens of thousands of people who called their members of Congress. As a result of this public outcry, the House took the extraordinary step of recommitting a conference report and the Senate failed to get the votes they needed to move it forward. As a matter of fact, a Republican-controlled Congress told the White House that privatization is unacceptable and something needed to be worked out. Congress knew that the flying public was not going to tolerate privatization.”

“We’ve come a long way since that dark day in July when privatization seemed inevitable. We thank members, particularly Senators Lautenberg and Reid and Representatives Oberstar, Hoyer and DeFazio and the Republican members who stood strong under enormous pressure, and did what was right for the flying public. And for those who opposed efforts to ensure that the world’s safest and most efficient air traffic control system is not sold to the lowest bidder, we can only hope that they have now seen that safety should never take a backseat to political ideology.

“A sigh of relief can be heard throughout our nation’s skies. Now, we need to work together to make sure that promises made are promises kept. We’ll be watching, and, in the words of Governor Schwarzenegger, ‘We’ll be back.’”

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