User Fees: EAA Criticizes White House Over Veto Threat
May 1, 2008 — EAA is criticizing the threat of a presidential veto issued this week by the White House Office of Management and Budget should President Bush be presented with FAA reauthorization legislation that does not contain user fees. As EAA reported earlier this week, a compromise has been reached between the Senate Finance and Commerce committees resulting in elimination of the administration's proposed $25 user fee for IFR flights that had caused widespread opposition in the general aviation community. The compromise, once finalized, would maintain the excise tax structure for funding the FAA and the aviation trust fund, with an increase in GA jet fuel taxes from 21.8 cents per gallon to 36 cents, and no increase in the Avgas (100LL) tax.
In its "Statement Of Administration Policy" issued on April 29, OMB states, "If the President is presented with a bill that.excludes the critical reforms proposed by the Administration.his senior advisors would recommend that he veto it."
Doug Macnair, EAA vice president of government affairs, criticized the veto threat, especially at a time when both houses of Congress appear to finally be on the same page.
"The Administration does not want to sign off on a bill that excludes user fees from the equation, despite wide bi-partisan agreement to the contrary," he said. "The House last year, and now the Senate, have taken user fees off the table, and the Administration, by threatening to veto the final bill, would rather hold up progress on critical equipment and infrastructure needs at a highly critical time for the FAA. This casts doubt, uncertainty, and unpredictability on the outcome, and this is a time when we need true leadership."
As the Senate continues its consideration of floor actions on HR 2881, EAA encourages members to contact the White House to voice their objections to this veto threat.