Amendments and the FAA bill, made complex

Senate%20BOR%20p%201%20copy.jpgWhy do they do this: so when a guy in a congressional committee offers an amendment, it’s supposed to make a bill better, right? And people are supposed to talk about the amendment and then vote in it. So the other day when members of the House transportation committee were eager to bring up amendments to the FAA bill, but promised to withdraw them immediately, we were slightly befuddled. There is however a reason to this sidestep in the dance of legislation.

One amendment would have had the FAA set up a central phone number to take complaints from anywhere about aircraft noise at any airports, but after discussing it and explaining it to the committee members for a few minutes, its sponsor, Mass. Rep. Michael Capuano, a Democrat, withdrew his amendment. Well, he has a reason. The committee wanted to get a clean bill out and to the House floor, and Capuano says that was intended all along. So why? Well, once it’s on the record, it’s on the record, and any member can bring it up, on the House floor or in conference…so, noisemakers, be warned.

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