Aviationby Representative Mike Pompeo
Posted on 2013-02-12
POMPEO. Mr. Speaker, when I go around in Kansas and talk to folks
and talk to them about a business that supports 1.2 million American
jobs and over $150 billion of wealth creation across the U.S. economy
and ask, ``What do you think a President would do if they knew about an
industry like that?'' they'd all say the same thing folks all across
the country would say. They'd say that the President ought to encourage
that, ought to thank the people that work in that industry, and ought
to promote that industry all across the world, a great American-
manufactured product doing great things in America.
Yet, that industry, the general aviation industry, is used by our President as a rhetorical punching bag. Everywhere he goes, he talks about corporate fat-cat jet owners and those rich, wealthy people flying around in corporate airplanes.
Well, I know what this industry does. I came from this industry. I know precisely who these people are. When you use language like that and you talk about an American manufacturing industry in that way, you're talking about welders, you're talking about union mechanics, and you're talking about all the support people that work at fixed-base operations all across the country. You're talking about good, hardworking Americans, not corporate fat-cat jet owners.
Yet this President continues in the same way that he has. I had hoped that I wouldn't have to come back and talk about it again, but I anticipate that tonight, from this very Chamber, we'll hear about those same corporate fat-cat jet owners yet again.
The general aviation industry doesn't ask for a handout, and it doesn't need what Detroit received. It only asks that a President acknowledge and recognize the importance of this industry. It creates aircraft that are used by small businessowners all across the Nation to get to places they need to be. Every week, I fly on commercial aircraft from here back to Wichita, Kansas. It's no easy task. If you want to get to two or three of your suppliers or four or five of your customers in a day located all throughout the heartland, the most efficient tool to use to do that is a general aviation airplane.
And, of course, we know the President understands that, Mr. Speaker. He flies around in the nicest personal aircraft in the history of the world, actually built in Wichita, Kansas. And government employees use general aviation aircraft to travel all around the country. They do so because it is an efficient means of conducting their business.
Now, when the President talks about these corporate fat-cat jet owners, he's doing so because he says he wants to close a loophole, he wants to generate more money coming to Washington, D.C., and he talks about this subsidy. We looked long and hard to find out what subsidy it was he was referring to. Frankly, we think it is a depreciation schedule--a depreciation schedule--something that every asset in America is subject to. Yet, somehow, [[Page H436]] he has picked on this particular depreciation schedule as offensive and antithetical to the American way of life.
Mr. President, the revenue that is generated in 1 year if we eliminated the provision about which we think you're speaking, Mr. Speaker, would generate enough revenue to run the government for a single day--1 day. Yet, Mr. Speaker, the President continues to use this language of class warfare against an industry that has created so many tens of thousands of jobs all across our country. It is unexplainable why anyone would be critical of this industry.
The President has also proposed a new tax, a general aviation fee, of $100 per flight segment, which would require an entire new bureaucracy to implement and to execute. It is incomprehensible to me why anyone would think that was the right approach.
Mr. Speaker, I have invited the President of the United States to come to Wichita, Kansas, to see Beechcraft, to see Cessna, and to see Learjet and to see all the suppliers and all of the people who work so hard to make these airplanes. He has not taken me up on that yet, Mr. Speaker. I urge that he do so. But, sadly, if he continues to decline and continues to talk about this industry in the way that he does, he will not suffer, but tens of thousands of Americans who work on these airplanes all across the country will.
I hope, Mr. Speaker, that the President will change his direction, change his course of action, and recognize the value of this important industry.