NATCA continues to oppose cuts to federal employee benefits and retirement programs that would harm both active and retired NATCA members, as these cuts are unacceptable and could exacerbate the staffing crisis to emergency levels in some facilities and across the National Airspace System (NAS). NATCA also continues to fight for a stable, predictable funding stream that adequately supports air traffic control services, staffing, hiring and training, long-term modernization projects, preventative maintenance, and ongoing modernization to the physical infrastructure.
Both the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives have begun their August recess. They are not scheduled to return until after Labor Day. NATCA is using this time to reach out to and educate members of Congress about our Union's legislative priorities. The NATCA National Legislative Committee (NLC) is coordinating tours of ATC facilities for members of Congress. NATCA also is coordinating visits to the congressional district offices. During these meetings, NATCA is explaining how proposed and potential legislation would affect our Union's membership and the NAS.
NATCA will also conduct rolling lobby weeks in Washington, D.C., as we prepare for a very busy legislative period after Labor Day. By Sept. 30 Congress must reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration and either pass Fiscal Year 2018 appropriations to fund the federal government, or agree to an extension of the existing funding levels. It also must increase the debt ceiling and deal with sequester funding caps.
It is important to note that Congress has not jointly passed individual agency appropriations in more than 10 years. Instead, Congress has passed continuing resolutions (CR) that maintain the prior year's funding levels, or it has passed an omnibus government-wide funding bill. Regardless of how these matters are legislated, NATCA will work hard to make sure the interests of our members are best served in the final legislation.
In the coming weeks, look for more information regarding in-district congressional outreach efforts. NATCA anticipates that we will be asking members to send an email or make a phone call to their members of Congress in coming weeks. In the meantime, if you would like more information about any legislative issue, please contact your regional NATCA Legislative Committee chair. Their contact information may be found here: https://natca.org/index.php/legislative-center/legislative-contacts.