By Keith Laing - 08/31/11 09:28 PM EDT
“The Senate passed language that said any airport that receives a subsidy that’s within 90 miles of another airport won’t get it,” he told the paper. “I took their language that they passed unanimously and included it in my extension.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), whose state contained one of the airports affected by the cuts Mica added to the Essential Air Service program, “wasn’t too happy about it,” Mica said.
“But at some point, when the hell do you say, ‘Enough is enough,’?” he said. “This is why I tried to pressure them to a decision.”
Mica told the paper he sought to compromise with Democrats on the provisions for organizing unions in the transportation sector that stalled the movement of a long-term funding bill for the FAA.
Mica said he suggested either lawmakers undo rules adopted last year by the National Mediation Board to make unionization easier — as Republicans attempted to do in the version of the FAA bill they passed in May — or change the rules to make it easier to dissolve unions.
But Reid was not interested, Mica told the paper.
“[The Democrats] shut the door in my face,” he said.
In a speech Tuesday at the White House, President Obama urged Congress to pass the FAA bill and a new federal surface-transportation bill when it returns from recess, tying both to a large job-creation push he has promised for the fall.
“A lot of people in Washington are talking about creating jobs — it’s time to stop the political games that can actually cost people jobs,” Obama said.
In a news release after Obama’s speech, Mica blamed Democrats for holding up both measures.
“During their control, they neglected aviation legislation for more than four years and left major transportation legislation in the ditch for more than a year,” Mica said.
But Mica said he would talk to the House GOP leadership about the FAA bill when he returns to Washington next week.
“I am returning to Washington to also consult with our Republican leadership before granting the 22nd FAA extension,” he said.