Rep. Russell Leads Fight Against ATC Privatization, Citing Serious National Security Concerns
July 25, 2017
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  • Washington, DC – Congressman Steve Russell (OK-5) gave a speech on the House Floor recently in opposition to the proposed privatization of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) air traffic control (ATC) system due to the detrimental effects that privatization would have on our national airspace system.

    Yesterday, Congressman Russell and Congressman Ralph Abraham (LA-5) issued a joint letter to Speaker Paul Ryan and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy in opposition to ATC privatization.

    Congressman Russell explained the pitfalls of ATC privatization, stating, “The national security of our skies could suffer terribly under a private corporation that has little to no congressional oversight. Establishing a private ATC board outside the purview of Congress with the unilateral power to collect fees and distribute service could also threaten freedom and accessibility for normal Americans to fly their own planes, affordability of flights, and the ability of our country to generate pilots.

    “Privatization would also increase federal deficits by nearly $46 billion over ten years, while giving away this money to a private company. Further, the implementation of the FAA’s Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) ATC modernization reform initiative that is set to be implemented in 2021 could be set back by an estimated seven years.”

    “We have the safest airspace in the world, but privatizing the air traffic controllers will put the safety of our skies at risk,” said Congressman Abraham. “The bill in question strips oversight authority of our national airspace from the President and Congress and instead gives it to a board of unelected individuals. Such an action would threaten the United States’ ability to maintain the integrity of our airspace, would put at risk the thousands of missions the military conducts in our skies each day, and would give private contractors access to classified data — all of which undermines our national security. If we want to maintain the safest and best airspace in the world, we must prevent ATC privatization.”

    Congressmen Russell and Abraham will continue to work with President Trump’s Administration to resolve their concerns with the proposed ATC privatization. Unless and until those concerns are resolved, they will remain in opposition. To hear Congressman Russell speak in opposition to the proposed legislation, watch his speech delivered today on the House Floor and help us spread the word.