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Aviation subcommittee head disappointed with FAA, White House

In the midst of the sequestration and budget cuts, the chair of the House aviation subcommittee says he is disappointed with the Federal Aviation Administration and the White House.

“They went out of their way to direct agencies not to prepare for the sequestration,” Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ) says. “I think they should have been planning for the possibility of this, and they had more than a year to put into place policies, procedures, formulas that would help ease this.”

LoBiondo, a U.S. Representative for New Jersey, has been on the aviation subcommittee, which is within the House transportation and infrastructure committee, for more than 15 years. The subcommittee has jurisdiction over the FAA.

“I believe and many others believe – though the FAA is saying they don’t – that they not only have the authority but the flexibility within their budget to use savings found in non-personnel costs to avoid furloughs and to minimize the problems that we’re seeing,” LoBiondo says.

He says he also sees the same “lack of planning” in the armed services. LoBiondo is a member of the House armed services committee.

If asked, the House would give the option to make budget cuts in other ways, he says.

“We would gladly give it. Republicans and Democrats, from my take, would gladly give the president the flexibility,” he says.

He hopes that the continuing resolution that the Senate is working on will spell out that the administration has more flexibility, especially with the FAA, LoBiondo says.

He could not say how cuts would affect the air cargo industry because there is no list of specific cuts yet.

“March 1 has come and gone,” LoBiondo says, “and now we’re in the middle of a bad situation.”