transportation

Word on the Hill: Darkest Hour
Free lunch, Bison day, Hirono’s health update, new D.C. book and Christopher Nolan at LOC

(Screen shot of “Darkest Hour” trailer)

The new movie “Darkest Hour” will be screened in D.C. this evening, followed by a panel that includes House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and Rep. Joseph Crowley, D-N.Y.

NBC’s Chuck Todd will moderate the panel at the United States Navy Memorial (701 Pennsylvania Ave. NW) at 7:15 p.m. The movie’s star, actor Gary Oldman, is also scheduled to attend.

Word on the Hill: Republicans Tour Jordan Airport
Pingree awarded, Veterans History Project discussion, and ‘The Long Road’

New York Rep. John Katko meets refugees at Zaatri refugee camp in northern Jordan. (Courtesy House Homeland Security Committee)

A delegation led by Rep. John Katko, R-N.Y., over last week’s recess included a stop in Jordan. The group toured Queen Alia International Airport, the largest airport in the country, to observe aviation security procedures and employee screening.

The U.S. donated passenger screening equipment to Jordan and other countries in 2016 under the FAA Extension, Safety and Security Act.

Democrats May Sink FAA Extension, Hurricane Tax Relief Package
Minority support needed to pass measure under fast track procedure

Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., oppose a GOP package to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration for six months and provide tax relief for hurricane victims. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Legislation that would reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration for six months and provide tax relief to victims of recent hurricanes could fail on the House floor Monday evening amid Democratic opposition. 

The minority party’s support is needed to pass the measure under a fast-track procedure known as suspension of the rules. Two-thirds support is required for passage on the suspension calendar, meaning at least 50 Democrats would need to vote “yes” if all 240 Republicans support the legislation. 

Trump Wants More Interstate Tolling, But Lawmakers Skeptical
Plan would give states more options

The Trump administration suggested in a fact sheet last week the idea of reducing restrictions on tolling on interstate highways. Pictured: I-278 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images File Photo)

President Donald Trump fleshed out his proposal last week to spend $1 trillion on infrastructure by listing tolling on interstate highways as one way to raise funds, but his idea is encountering reluctance in Congress.

Several key lawmakers said they were receptive to the idea, but cited obstacles to moving forward.

Lawmakers’ Safety Exemption for Old Steamboat Alarms Coast Guard
Fire risk to passengers high, according to document

A bill exempting the Delta Queen steamboat from a fire safety law has come under strong criticism. (Doug Strickland/Chattanooga Times Free Press/AP file photo)

The Senate voted overwhelmingly last month to permit a 90-year-old stern-wheel steamboat named the Delta Queen to travel the Mississippi River as an overnight cruise ship for up to 174 passengers.

Relaunching the now-idle boat would rekindle a connection to the region’s history and inject millions of tourist dollars and hundreds of jobs into states up and down the river, supporters of the measure said.

Podcast: The Long Road Ahead to Fixing America’s Infrastructure
The Week Ahead, Episode 50

President Donald Trump wants to invest $1 trillion into the nation’s crumbling roads, bridges, tunnels and airports, as well as into drinking water, electric and telecommunications systems, says CQ Roll Call’s transportation reporter Jacob Fischler. But the hurdle to that ambitious agenda is finding the money. Fischler and transportation editor Randy Walerius discuss what role Congress could play in the plan.

Airline Food Workers Protest Low Wages Amid ‘Historic’ Profits
While airline employees have seen raises, those who cater airline meals have not

Airline catering workers in the Washington, D.C., area rallied for higher wages on Wednesday. (Photo Courtesy Meghan Cohorst, UNITE HERE)

United isn’t the only airline facing public criticism this week — airline food workers, who prepare meals served on flights, are protesting their low wages while they say the airlines are enjoying record profits.

More than 100 workers for airline catering companies marched from the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on Wednesday to protest their wages in the midst of what organizers with the labor union UNITE HERE described as “historic profits” for airlines and “well-deserved gains” for other airport and airline workers.

Opinion: You May Rush to Judgment on United Incident — But Don't Rush to Regulate
Market forces may have more impact than legislation

United Airlines passenger David Dao was dragged from flight to make room for airline employees. (Screenshots)

Watching videos of a man bloodied and limp being dragged from an airline seat is disconcerting irrespective of your relative weighting of common sense and the enforceability of contracts. No matter what the legal entitlements of the passenger and United Airlines might be, few will deny that what occurred on Monday’s United flight from Chicago to Louisville was outrageous and should never have occurred,.

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton is already calling for hearings on the event in the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. In prior airline situations where outrageous and disconcerting events have occurred, legislators and regulators have rushed to respond to public opinion, and those reactions have been ill-conceived or at the very least burdened with unintended consequences, which, if known, might have resulted in a different response.

Senate Bides Time as Highway Bill Negotiations Continue

Collins departs from the weekly Senate Republicans luncheon on Nov. 10. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

It might feel like Groundhog Day with another deadline arriving to fund highway programs, but negotiators hope this one will be the last.  

They have until the end of the week to produce and advance a conference agreement on transportation programs, absent another extension. It's also the vehicle for reviving the Export-Import Bank.  

Senator Calls for Criminal Prosecution of VW Officials

Nelson has been one of the leading critics of the auto industry. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Bill Nelson, in a scathing speech on the Senate floor, said Tuesday the latest scandal involving deceptive auto industry practices should result in criminal charges and regulatory reform.  

The Florida Democrat's comments came as President Barack Obama's administration ordered Volkswagen last week to recall at least half a million cars amid accusations the German manufacturer installed software to cheat on emissions tests. The company admitted Tuesday the deceptive software could impact as many as 11 million cars worldwide. Nelson said it was time for jail terms, not fines.