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Top Committee Democrats Request CBO Score of Revised AIRR Act

Aug 7, 2017
Press Release

Top Committee Democrats Request CBO Score of Revised AIRR Act

Significant changes made to Rules Print will add tens of billions to the cost of the bill

Washington, D.C. –Today, Ranking Members of four United States House of Representatives Committees sent a letter to Keith Hall, Director of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), requesting a revised cost estimate for H.R. 2997, the “21st Century AIRR Act”, as posted by the Committee on Rules. The letter was signed by Ranking Member of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Ranking Member of the Committee on the Budget John Yarmuth (D-KY), Ranking Member of the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), and Ranking Member of the Committee on Ways and Means Richard Neal (D-MA).

Last month, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its cost estimate for H.R. 2997, the “21st Century AIRR Act”, as ordered reported by the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. CBO determined that H.R. 2997, which privatizes the Nation’s air traffic control system, would increase net deficits by more than $20 billion over the next 10 years and by more than $5 billion in subsequent 10-year periods. The Committee on Rules subsequently posted a different version of H.R. 2997 (Rules Committee Print 115-25) for consideration on the House Floor. Rules Committee Print 115-25 includes significant changes to the reported version of the bill.

In total, these changes to H.R. 2997, reflected in Rules Committee Print 115-25, likely add tens of billions of dollars to the cost of the legislation and, thus, the budget deficit. These changes were executed without any opportunity for us, as Ranking Members of the Committees of jurisdiction, to provide input or to debate the wisdom of the changes. Moreover, given that none of these changes were considered in the Committees of jurisdiction, CBO has not provided any cost estimate of their effects. Therefore, to better inform Members of Congress of the significant changes included in H.R. 2997 prior to Floor consideration, we request that CBO issue a full cost estimate of Rules Committee Print 115-25 by September 5, 2017,” the Members wrote.

Click here and see below to read today’s letter.

Click here for the original CBO cost estimate.

 

August 7, 2017

 

The Honorable Keith Hall

Director

Congressional Budget Office

402 Ford House Office Building

Washington, DC 20515

 

Dear Director Hall:

            Last month, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its cost estimate for H.R. 2997, the “21st Century AIRR Act”, as ordered reported by the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. CBO determined that H.R. 2997, which privatizes the Nation’s air traffic control system, would increase net deficits by more than $20 billion over the next 10 years and by more than $5 billion in subsequent 10-year periods.

            Subsequent to CBO’s cost estimate, the Committee on Rules posted a different version of H.R. 2997 (Rules Committee Print 115-25) for consideration on the House Floor. Rules Committee Print 115-25 includes significant changes to the version of the bill that CBO previously reviewed. For instance, compared to the reported bill, Rules Committee Print 115-25:

  • cuts $1 billion of contract authority funding for airport construction grants under the Airport Improvement Program;
  • authorizes $945 million from the Airport and Airway Trust Fund for research and development activities of the Federal Aviation Administration;
  • slashes revenues from aviation excise taxes by more than $15 billion per year (on average) from current levels beginning in fiscal year (FY) 2021; and
  • includes no budgetary offsets. 

In total, these changes to H.R. 2997, reflected in Rules Committee Print 115-25, likely add tens of billions of dollars to the cost of the legislation and, thus, the budget deficit. These changes were executed without any opportunity for us, as Ranking Members of the Committees of jurisdiction, to provide input or to debate the wisdom of the changes. Moreover, given that none of these changes were considered in the Committees of jurisdiction, CBO has not provided any cost estimate of their effects. 

            Therefore, to better inform Members of Congress of the significant changes included in H.R. 2997 prior to Floor consideration, we request that CBO issue a full cost estimate of Rules Committee Print 115-25 by September 5, 2017.

If you have any questions, please contact Ward McCarragher, Democratic Chief Counsel, of the Committee on Transportation on Infrastructure (ext. 54472).

Thank you for your consideration.

 

Sincerely,

 

_______________________                                      _______________________

PETER DeFAZIO                                                     JOHN A. YARMUTH

Ranking Member                                                         Ranking Member

Committee on Transportation                                     Committee on the Budget

and Infrastructure                                                       

                                                                                

 

 

_______________________                                      _______________________

EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON                                 RICHARD E. NEAL

Ranking Member                                                         Ranking Member

Committee on Science, Space, and                              Committee on Ways and Means

Technology                                                     

 

cc:        The Honorable Pete Sessions, Chairman Committee on Rules

The Honorable Louise McIntosh Slaughter, Ranking Member, Committee on Rules

            The Honorable Bill Shuster, Chairman, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure

            The Honorable Diane Black, Chairman, Committee on the Budget

            The Honorable Lamar Smith, Chairman, Committee on Science, Space, and Technology

            The Honorable Kevin Brady, Chairman, Committee on Ways and Means

 

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