Inhofe sought unanimous consent for the chamber to consider the Pilots' Bill of Rights (S. 3268), which requires the FAA to allow pilots access to evidence under which they were sanctioned and provides for a court of appeals for decisions by the FAA. The legislation also gives pilots access to all flight service station communications.
Inhofe explained in his floor speech bringing the legislation up for a vote that he was inspired to introduce the legislation after landing his plane on a runway that was closed. Inhofe noted that the incident could have resulted in his losing his license.
"And it doesn't matter much to people that are listening to me right now, because you're not pilots," Inhofe said. "But it means a lot to the 400,000 members of the [Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association], who are watching us right now, and to the 175,000 general aviation pilots with the EAA — Experimental Aircraft Association — that they know that with the whim of just one bureaucrat they could just lose their license."
Inhofe said he had 66 co-sponsors for the legislation. Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) and Jay RockefellerJay RockefellerLobbying world Overnight Tech: Senators place holds on FCC commissioner Overnight Tech: Senate panel to vote on Dem FCC commissioner MORE (D-W.Va.) objected to the unanimous consent request.
"My objection is not based so much on what he said but it's based on the whole concept of public safety," Rockefeller said. "This bill would create a process, which would be new, that could result in the federal government [not] being able to pursue enforcement actions because of limited resources.
"This bill would stand the FAA's enforcement structure on its head, and as a result I object."
Inhofe first introduced the legislation in August 2011.