By Keith Laing
Airlines are seeking to rally opposition to a potential increase in the airline ticket fees that pay for the Transportation Security Administration.
The Washington, D.C.-based lobbying group Airlines For America (A4A) is conducting a "Stop Air Tax Now" campaign to oppose a rumored an increase in the security fee from $2.50 per trip to $5 on airline tickets to raise revenue for a broader government funding deal.
The chairmen of the respective House and Senate Budget committees, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), are rumored to be considering the increase to raise revenue for a broader government funding deal.
The campaign is similar to previous events by the airline association to train passenger anger on lawmakers, most recently when flights were being delayed because of budget cuts that were included in the sequestration law in the spring.
A4A President Nicholas Calio said the airlines would keep the drum beat about the security fee up, though it has not been formally proposed yet.
“Airline passengers already pay more than their fair share in taxes to the federal government,” Calio said in a statement. “It’s unreasonable and unnecessary for budget negotiators to be looking to squeeze any more out of an already overtaxed industry and their customers. We understand the difficulty of the challenge they are trying to meet, but respectfully suggest they look elsewhere to plug the budget hole.”
The proposal to increase the airline security fee has been included previous proposals to reduce the federal deficit, including the 2011 Simpson-Bowles commission's recommendations.
Airlines have successfully pushed back against the previous iterations of the proposal, and this time, they have garnered support from conservative groups who are critical of the TSA and tax increases in general.
"[The TSA] reaps around $400 million annually solely from airlines, expanding its workforce and budget but decreasing the number of passengers screened by 11 percent over the last six years," American Conservative Union Chairman Stephen DeMaura wrote last week in an article on RedState.com.
"Rather than hiking fees on airlines and the taxpayers who depend on their services, the politicians in Washington should be looking for meaningful ways to cut costs and empower an industry weighed down by government edicts," DeMaura continued.
Lawmakers are searching for a deal to continue funding for the federal government before a scheduled Jan. 15 deadline for another potential shutdown.