What: All Issues : Labor Rights : General Union Rights : (H.R. 658) Legislation authorizing annual funding for the Federal Aviation Administration, and limiting the ability of federal aviation and railroad workers to form unions) – On the resolution setting a time limit for debate and determining which amendments could be offered to the bill. (2011 house Roll Call 205)
 Who: All Members
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(H.R. 658) Legislation authorizing annual funding for the Federal Aviation Administration, and limiting the ability of federal aviation and railroad workers to form unions) – On the resolution setting a time limit for debate and determining which amendments could be offered to the bill.
house Roll Call 205     Mar 31, 2011
Progressive Position:
Nay
Progressive Result:
Loss

This was a vote on a resolution setting a time limit for debate and determining which amendments could be offered to legislation authorizing annual funding for the Federal Aviation Administration, and limiting the ability of federal aviation and railroad workers to form unions. (The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has regulatory authority over all civil aviation in the United States.) Specifically, the bill imposed a new rule requiring that workers who did not vote at all in union elections would be counted as having voting against unionizing. The underlying bill also cut $2 billion in federal funding for making improvements at U.S. airports. Overall, the bill cut $4 billion in federal funding for FAA operations—reducing total FAA funding to 2008 levels.

Rep. Daniel Webster (R-FL) urged support for the resolution and the underlying bill: “I support tightening our belt and rolling back funding to 2008 levels to save taxpayers $4 billion over the next several years…. I rise to support this rule [resolution] and the underlying legislation. The committees of jurisdiction have worked to provide us a long-term reauthorization that can streamline the modernization of our aviation system while ending the practice of short-term fixes when it comes to funding this crucial service.”
 
Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) opposed the resolution and the underlying bill: “H.R. 658 [the underlying bill] cuts almost $2 billion from the Airport Improvement Program, which provides grants to airports for constructing and improving runways and terminals. This provision alone will cost us 70,000 jobs…H.R. 658's reduced funding levels will result in the layoffs of hundreds of safety inspectors, engineers and support personnel.”

McGovern also criticized the bill’s ant-union provision: “This bill would reverse a…[federal] rule that allows a majority of those voting in aviation and rail union elections to decide the outcome. Instead, tea party extremists want to count workers who chose not to vote as automatic `noes' against the union. I wonder if my friends on the other side of the aisle would be willing to use that same standard in congressional elections? I wonder if they would agree that every registered voter who didn't vote, for whatever reason, last November would automatically be counted as a `no' vote against them? I doubt it, because in the 2010 midterm elections, 40.9 percent of eligible voters cast ballots nationwide.”

The House agreed to this resolution by a vote of 249-171. All 235 Republicans present and 14 Democrats voted “yea.” 171 Democrats voted “nay.” As a result, the House proceeded to formal floor debate on legislation authorizing annual funding for the Federal Aviation Administration, and limiting the ability of federal aviation and railroad workers to form unions.

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