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Sat, Nov 15, 2003

'Privatization:' The Standoff Continues

White House Rejects Compromise Proposal

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.

FMI: www.faa.gov

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