Two big aviation-related matters are pending as the U.S. Congress returns this week, and both seem like they are going to stay that way.
The nomination of Michael Huerta as FAA administrator, and a bill from Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) to exempt the United States from the European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme (EU-ETS) are both queued for action; however, both items remain stalled due to the use of a procedural tactic known as a “hold,” which prevents a bill from being voted on by unanimous consent.
Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) is responsible for the Huerta hold, stating that he will only release it if President Barack Obama is reelected. If not, DeMint and other Republicans would want to see Mitt Romney make his own selection for the job.
Meanwhile, there is the possibility the Thune-McCaskill legislation gets tacked onto one of the must-pass bills expected later this year. House Transportation Committee Chairman John Mica (R-Fla.) wrote a similar EU emissions bill that has already passed the House.
“The EU’s scheme goes into full effect in early 2013. Doing nothing is not an option,” Thune and McCaskill wrote. “Secretary [of State Hillary] Clinton, Secretary [of Transportation Ray] LaHood, and over 20 foreign governments are united in their opposition to EU-ETS. The entire aviation industry, including airlines, operators and manufacturers, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and several labor unions are also supportive of our bipartisan bill.”