Essential Air Service

Essential Air Service
House Chamber, Washington, D.C.
June 26, 2012

Mr. Chairman:

    If the House is to live up to the promises the Republican majority made to the American people to bring spending under control, some tough choices are going to have to be made. 

    But this amendment isn’t one of them.  This is about the easiest choice the House could possibly make: to put an end to the so-called “Essential Air Service” that lavishly subsidizes some of the least essential air services in the country.

    This program shells out nearly $200 million a year – including $114 million of direct taxpayer subsidies – to support empty and near-empty flights from selected airports in tiny communities – most of which are just a few hours’ drive from major airports. 

    A reporter recently investigating this waste took one of these flights from Ely Nevada and was the only passenger on the flight.  Our constituents paid $1.8 million for this air service that carried just 227 passengers during the entire year!  Ely is a three and a half hour drive from Salt Lake City International Airport. 

    Thief River Falls, Minnesota is considered an Essential Air Service airport, despite the fact it is just an hour and nine minutes drive to Grand Forks International Airport in North Dakota.  Hagerstown is just 75 miles from Baltimore, but subsidizing their flights is considered an “Essential Air Service.” 

    It is true there are a few tiny communities in Alaska – like Kake’s 700 hearty souls -- that have no highway connections to hub airports, but they have plenty of alternatives.  In the case of Kake, they enjoy year-round ferry service to Juneau.  In addition, Alaska is well served by a thriving general aviation market and the ubiquitous bush pilot.  Rural life has both great advantages and great disadvantages, and it is not the job of hardworking taxpayers who chose to live elsewhere to level out the differences.

    Apologists for this wasteful spending tell us it is an important economic driver for these small towns – and I’m sure that’s so – whenever you give away money, the folks you’re giving it to are always better off.  But the folks you’re taking it from are always worse off to exactly the same extent.  Indeed, it is economic drivers like this that have driven Greece’s economy right off a cliff.

    An airline so reckless with its funds as to manage its affairs in such a ludicrous way would quickly bankrupt itself.  As we can plainly see, the same principal holds true for governments.

    This was a temporary program set up when we deregulated commercial aviation.  It was supposed to last a few years to give rural communities a chance to adjust.  That was 34 years ago.

    In 2010, in one of the most decisive Congressional elections in American history, voters entrusted the House to Republicans with a crystal clear mandate: STOP WASTING MONEY.

    Last year, the House responded to this mandate by voting to eliminate EAS subsidies in the FAA re-authorization bill.

    What is the response of the House appropriators?  They do not eliminate funding.  They do not reduce funding. 

    No, they increase funding by 11 percent in a single year, to a new historic high. 

    Our nation is borrowing 40-cents of every dollar it is spending; it has lost its triple-A credit rating; its taxpayers are exhausted; its treasury is empty; its children are staggering under a mountain of debt that will impoverish them for years to come – and yet the House Appropriations Committee, in defiance of last year’s decision by the House to eliminate this program, has just voted a double-digit percentage increase for a program that flies near-empty planes around the country! 

    I think we can do better than that.  I offer instead this amendment to stop fleecing taxpayers for this expensive folly.  

     I believe that House Republicans will prove themselves worthy of the trust the American people have given them in this perilous hour in our nation’s history.  I believe that House Republicans can summon the fortitude to save our country from financial wreck and ruin.  And I offer this amendment to put that faith to a most modest test. 

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February Town Hall Meetings

Congressman McClintock will be hosting the following town hall meetings in February:
 
El Dorado Hills 
February 18, 2015
6:00 PM
Town Hall Meeting
Oakridge High School
1120 Harvard Way
 
Jamestown 
February 19, 2015
6:00 PM
Town Hall Meeting
Sheriff's Posse Clubhouse
19130 Rawhide Road  S
 
For further information about upcoming town hall meetings please call the district office at 916-786-5560.

Staff Satellite Office Hours

Office staff members are available to assist constituents with problems or concerns at satellite office locations held throughout the district.  Anyone wishing to discuss an issue of federal concern is invited to attend one of these satellite office sessions and speak with a member of staff.  For more information, or to reach staff, please call the district office at 916-786-5560.
  
Upcoming staff satellite office hours for February 2015: 
 
Amador County
 
Jackson
Tuesday, February 24th
9:30 am-11:00 am
Conference Room D
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810 Court Street
 
Calaveras County
 
San Andreas 
Tuesday, February 10th
10:00 am-11:30 am
Calaveras County Water Agency Conference Room
120 Toma Court
 
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Placerville 
Tuesday, February 10th
9:45 am-11:30 am
El Dorado County Government Center
330 Fair Lane
 
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Tuesday, February 10th
12:00 pm-2:00 pm
El Dorado Hills Chamber of Commerce
2085 Vine Street, #105
 
Camino 
Thursday, February 12th
10:00 am-11:30 am
Pollock Pines/Camino Chamber of Commerce
4123 Carson Road, Suite B
 
South Lake Tahoe 
Thursday, February 19th
10:00 am-12:00 pm
South Lake Tahoe Public Utility District
1275 Meadow Crest Drive
 
Fresno County
 
Auberry 
Monday, February 9th
11:00 am-1:00 pm
The Auberry Library
33049 Auberry Rd
 
Madera County
 
Oakhurst 
Tuesday, February 10th
9:00 am-11:00 am
Yosemite Visitor Bureau Conference Room
40637 Highway 41
 
Mariposa County
 
Mariposa 
Tuesday, February 3rd
10:30 am-12:00 pm
Library Conference Room
4978 10th Street
 
Placer County
 
Auburn
Wednesday, February 4th
9:00 am-11:00 am
Auburn City Hall
The Rose Room
1225 Lincoln Way
 
Foresthill 
Wednesday, February 4th
12:00 pm-2:00 pm
Veterans Memorial Hall
24600 Harrison Street
 
Lincoln
Tuesday, February 10th
3:00 pm-5:00 pm
Lincoln City Hall
600 6th Street
 
Rocklin 
Tuesday, February 24th
3:00 pm-5:00 pm
Rocklin City Hall
3980 Rocklin Rd
 
Tahoe City
Tuesday, February 3rd
9:00 am-11:00 am
North Lake Tahoe Arts Center
380 North Lake Tahoe Blvd
 
Tuolumne County
 
Sonora 
Tuesday, February 10th
1:00 pm-2:30 pm
Small Business Center Conference Room
99 N Washington St
 
For further information on staff satellite office hours, please call 916-786-5560.