Moran Amendment to Keep Contract Towers Open

Updated 3/20/13, 4:25 p.m.

Despite the valiant efforts of Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS) and others, the Senate is on track today to approve the continuing funding resolution for government operations without the bipartisan “save the contract towers” amendment that we have been pushing for the past 10 days.  As we have noted, the amendment was supported by a broad coalition of organizations and officials (see below).

In a statement on the Senate floor this afternoon, Senator Moran lamented the fact that Senate leaders prohibited a vote on his amendment, which was cosponsored by 26 Senators and which had the clear support of dozens of others. Senator Moran indicated in his remarks that he had spoken to DOT Secretary LaHood today and that Secretary LaHood indicated that the amendment was opposed by the White House – a fact that clearly explains the resistance from Democratic leaders for a vote.

With the path for a legislative “fix” now completely blocked, we have encouraged supportive Senators and House members to contact Secretary LaHood, Administrator Huerta and others to ask that they abandon their plans to close towers on April 7. We encourage you to contact your elected officials with the same message. Although DOT and FAA have made clear they do not intend to use the discretion they have to keep contract towers open, we intend to keep the pressure on the Administration to abandon these ill-advised and indiscriminate cuts to the contract tower program.

Supporters of the Moran amendment mounted a truly remarkable campaign to keep contract towers open. While those efforts were ultimately unsuccessful in the Senate, supporters have made a strong statement about the level of backing this critical program enjoys. We have many more fights in front of us, so stay tuned for further updates and calls to action.

Updated: 3/18/13, 8:45 p.m.

Despite the concerted efforts of affected airports and a broad coalition of contract tower supporters to secure support for an amendment to the continuing resolution by Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS) to keep contract towers open beyond April 7, Senate leaders successfully blocked consideration of the Moran amendment — and all other pending amendments — this afternoon.

In the end, leaders negotiating the bill were unable to reach a deal on how to proceed with pending amendments to the CR — which funds the government beyond March 27 — and opted instead to jettison them all and limit further debate on the bill.  The bipartisan Moran amendment was cosponsored by 23 Senators and had the support of many more.

In a speech from the Senate floor this evening, Senator Moran noted the strong support the amendment enjoyed and expressed disappointment and frustration that the Senate did not take a vote on the amendment. Senator Moran argued against Senate process and on the merits of keeping contract towers open.

To be clear, tonight’s action is a serious blow to our efforts to keep towers open after April 7. We will continue to pursue other options and will keep you apprised of those efforts, but wanted to report tonight’s disappointing developments.

Moran Amendment Background

Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS) offered his amendment to the Senate Continuing Resolution (CR) to keep contract towers open.  The bipartisan amendment can be viewed here and an explanation of the amendment can be viewed here.  

Cosponsors:

Senator Pryor (D-AR)
Senator Blumenthal (D-CT)
Senator Warner (D-VA)
Senator Merkley (D-OR)
Senator Wyden (D-OR)
Senator Klobuchar (D-MN)
Senator Hagan (D-NC)
Senator Shaheen (D-NH)
Senator Kaine (D-VA)
Senator Manchin (D-WV)
Senator Risch (D-ID)
Senator Baucus (D-MT)
Senator Tester (D-MT)
Senator Rockefeller (D-WV)

Senator Moran (R-KS)
Senator Roberts (R-KS)
Senator Inhofe (R-OK)
Senator Kirk (R-IL)
Senator Blunt (R-MO)
Senator Boozman (R-AR)
Senator Ayotte (R-NH)
Senator Johanns (R-NE)
Senator Crapo (R-ID)
Senator Enzi (R-WY)
Senator Wicker (R-MS)
Senator Vitter (R-LA)

From 3/13/13 1:16 p.m.

A number of other Senators have expressed an interest in the amendment but are not yet official cosponsors.   We are working feverishly to gain additional cosponsors today and urge you to contact your Senate offices again to press them to cosponsor the Moran amendment to keep towers open.  To be clear, we are making good progress, but we have a very long ways to go before this amendment is approved.  Numerous hurdles stand in our way, so a strong showing of support from as many Senators as possible is critical.

The letter that AAAE and the U.S. Contract Tower Association sent to Senator Moran in support of his amendment can be viewed here.  Additionally, a number of groups, including NATCA, AOPA, NATA, and NBAA have also sent letters or statements of support.  Links to those letters are below.

Press Release: SEN. MORAN TO INTRODUCE AMENDMENT TO PROTECT CONTRACT TOWER PROGRAM FROM FAA CUTS