Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Credit Where It’s Due



This won’t excite you. You won’t pass it along to your friends. It won’t make me famous. It’s just the right thing to do.

With the closing of the 110th Congress, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee put out a press release listing the Committee’s accomplishments. True, it can be viewed as nothing more than political PR, but it shows that something in Congress works.

”Under Chairman James L. Oberstar (Minn.), the Committee conducted 180 hearings, lasting a total of 581 hours, and gathered testimony from 1,223 witnesses. In contrast, in the 109th Congress, the Committee held 104 hearings over 252 hours, and heard 580 witnesses. “

I, for one, would like to acknowledge Chairman Oberstar’s work. I can’t vote for him and I can’t tell you a whole lot about him except for the fact that he knows aviation. He seems to work hard and, from what I can tell, he tries to do the right things.

”When Oberstar was elected Chairman, he also pledged that the Committee would vigorously exercise it oversight responsibilities. The Committee’s first Investigations and Oversight hearing in the 110th Congress, in April 2007, examined at problems with the Coast Guard’s Deepwater program. One of the final bills approved by the House in the 110th Congress was H.R. 6999, a bill to institute reforms in the troubled program. Earlier this year, another oversight hearing revealed flaws in the Federal Aviation Administration’s aircraft inspection program, and prompted the FAA to ground hundreds of commercial aircraft for overdue inspections. Fraudulent activities in drug testing for commercial drivers and medical certification for pilots were also examined by the Committee. “

Many of you have probably never heard of Jim Oberstar. That’s a shame. I think Congress could use a lot more people like him.

”“I am very proud of this Committee, its Subcommittee Chairs, Ranking Members, and, indeed, all 75 Members of our Committee. We worked together in an inclusive, bipartisan fashion, and accomplished a great deal. I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in the 111th Congress,” Oberstar said.“

It’s not very exciting but it sure sounds better than what we normally hear out of Congress. Gracious, respectful and positive. I think we could use a lot more of that.

Don Brown
October 7, 2008

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