EAA AVIATION CENTER, OSHKOSH – EAA continues to push hard to bring Pilot’s Bill of Rights 2 (PBOR2) to a successful outcome in Congress. Thanks to the flood of calls from EAA members to their senators in support of PBOR2, the number of co-sponsors on the bill increased from 33 to 57 in a matter of days and currently stands just three co-sponsors away from goal.
Despite overwhelming support from the general aviation community, the reform effort saw pushback from various powerful interest groups such as the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA). EAA strongly denounced the pushback and is putting in a tremendous effort to ensure it does not affect the outcome of this legislation.
Multiple strategies have been used in recent weeks to pass PBOR2 in the Senate, but each has come up short due to larger and more controversial political issues that are out of EAA’s control. After PBOR2 met small yet fervent opposition in the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, a different tactic was attempted by its supporters. Senators Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) and John Boozman (R-Arkansas) filed a modified version of PBOR2 as an amendment to the Surface Transportation Reauthorization Bill, or simply Highway Bill, recently passed by the House of Representatives.
Though EAA was optimistic that the Manchin-Boozman amendment was one of the best opportunities for PBOR2 to pass through the Senate, some senators began to see the Highway Bill as an opportunity to insert other, highly contentious issues having nothing to do with transportation. Due to the “must pass” nature of the Highway Bill, Senate leadership rejected almost every proposed amendment to the bill, including Manchin-Boozman.
Though PBOR2 has encountered multiple roadblocks over the past few weeks, EAA continues to pursue a successful resolution for long-fought third-class medical reform. Last week at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, Senator James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma), PBOR2’s original sponsor, announced that he would attempt to introduce PBOR2 to the Senate floor as a standalone bill if it could gain 60 co-sponsors.
To achieve the goal, EAA must work to gather co-sponsors over the August congressional recess. You, our dedicated members, have been working hard through writing letters and calling your senators to help garner support for PBOR2. We understand the delay is disappointing, but we also want to make clear that this is only a delay. PBOR2 is still very much alive and support for it remains strong.
Congress may be taking a recess, but the work here at EAA continues. We ask any member who has not yet called his or her senators to do so and strongly convey support for PBOR2. Please ask any and all of your fellow aviation enthusiasts to do the same. You can see a current list of co-sponsors here.
The aviation community is closer than ever to making third-class medical reform a reality. Let’s keep the push going!