Yesterday, Representative McClintock (R-CA) offered an amendment to the House transportation spending bill to eliminate funding for Essential Air Service. “This is about the easiest choice that the House could possibly make – put an end to the so-called Essential Air Service that lavishly subsidizes some of the least essential air services in the country,” McClintock stated. “Rural life has both great advantages and disadvantages, and it is not the job of hardworking taxpayers who choose to live elsewhere to level out the differences.”
Thankfully, not every Republican shared McClintock’s sentiment, and in a vote that split the GOP 154-77, the House rejected his proposal by a vote of 164-238.
Having access to air service is crucial to the economies of rural communities. Though House Republicans voted to eliminate the program last year, a coalition of Democrats and Republicans representing rural communities reversed the move in the Senate. This year, funding for the EAS program reached a new high, with an 11 perfect increase from FY 2012 included in the FY 2013 appropriations bill.
“We are pleased that the House recognized the importance of EAS and ignored McClintock’s attack on ‘rural life,’” stated RASA Executive Director Brian Sowa. “While this represents a huge win for the EAS program, we must work to continue to protect the funding level included in the House and Senate throughout the appropriations process and ensure general Congressional support continues despite negative reports and articles like those touted by Rep. McClintock.”