This was the plan, as cooked up by
Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Senate Commerce Aviation
Subcommittee Chairman Trent Lott (R-MS): Yeah, go ahead and include
the now-infamous "privatization" provision in the FAA
Reauthorization Bill. But put the plan to hand 69 airport towers
nationwide over to contractors on hold for a year.
The White House reply was pretty clear: That ain't gonna fly.
And, boy, are Democrats mad.
"We just think that it shows ... they're hell bent on farming
out the air traffic control [system] to the private sector," a
Democratic aide said to the online publication Congress Daily.
And so the months-long battle between Lautenberg and Lott
continues with no sign of a break. Wednesday, Lautenberg threatened
to filibuster the conference report on FAA reauthorization. While
Democrats may not have enough votes to defeat the measure,
Republicans need a super-majority of 60 Senate votes to invoke
cloture. They don't have those votes.