Last year it was about safety and innovation. This year it’s about jobs. But it’s the same bill.
The Senate this week will move to pass a bipartisan measure to fund much-needed improvements to technology used by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that failed last year after a squabble between the House and Senate over some of the details in the bill. The deficit-neutral bill will authorize funding for the FAA for two years, and support programs to update the archaic instruments the agency still uses to communicate with airlines.
But this year, talk of the new technology is being overshadowed by the jobs advocates say the bill will support.
“This is a bill we’ve wanted to complete for years,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Monday during a conference call that included Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia and aviation industry lobbyist Charles Barclay. “This legislation will save or create up to 280,000 jobs.”
The heavy emphasis on jobs is part of a larger effort among members of Congress to convince people that they are focused on unemployment — the most pressing issue of concern according to most polls — in each vote they take.
Over the course of the call, the quartet uttered the word “jobs” more than 30 times.
“In November the voters sent both parties a clear message,” Schumer said. “Focus like a laser on jobs.”
With that, expect to hear members of Congress discovering a jobs angle to in nearly every bill they push. They’re really hoping you notice.