Praise Schmidt, LoBiondo, Reed, Cravaack, 21 Other Republicans for Standing Up for Safety

Buffalo, New York- April 4, 2011 – After the Shuster Amendment that would jeopardize current and future FAA safety rulemaking efforts narrowly passed the House by a 215-209 vote, the ‘Families of Continental Flight 3407’ turned their efforts to the conference process and preventing the language from being included in the final FAA Reauthorization Bill. They also thanked the 25 Republicans who joined with 184 Democrats in opposing the amendment.

“First off, we need to thank the Republicans on the Aviation Subcommittee who stood with us – you have veteran members of the subcommittee in Reps. Schmidt and LoBiondo, Rep. Reed from Western New York, and Rep. Cravaack, a former Northwest pilot – his vote should tell you all you need to know about whether this amendment will impact safety, particularly the new pilot flight and duty time regulation,” stated Susan Bourque of East Aurora, New York, who lost her sister Beverly, a noted 9/11 widow who fought for reforms on the Hill for six years after she lost her husband in the World Trade Center. “Thanks to their leadership and willingness to put safety first, this amendment goes to conference with an extremely weak mandate. Now we need to turn our sights to the conference process and ensuring that this is not included in the final bill, lest all the reforms that were set in progress last Congress are allowed to be undermined by the airlines and their lobbyists.”

The amendment, which would add layers of complexity to the FAA’s already painstakingly slow rulemaking process, is designed to make it more difficult for the FAA to regulate the cargo and non-scheduled Part 121 carriers, and also aims to offer legal grounds to challenge the FAA’s in-progress rulemaking on pilot flight and duty time limitations, which is due to be issued by August 1st. Most importantly, it threatens the FAA’s new pilot fatigue rulemaking, which is due by August 1. Although the bill was sponsored by Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA) and endorsed by Aviation Subcommittee member Rep. Pat Meehan (R-PA), the group took heart in the opposition of the other Republican representatives in southeastern Pennsylvania.

“I wanted to extend my heartfelt thanks to the Pennsylvania Republicans – Reps. Gerlach, Pitts, Dent, and Platts – who did the right thing on this vote and took a stand for safety,” stated Scott Maurer of Moore, SC, who lost his 30-year old daughter Lorin on Flight 3407. “I know for all of my family members in the Reading area where Lorin grew up, for the Lang family in Montgomeryville, the Safrans in Bradford, and for the Perry’s, Korcyzkowski’s and the entire University of Pennsylvania extended family in southeastern PA, their support means the world. Now we need to roll up our sleeves and focus on the conference. We’re not going to be able to bring Lorin back, but hopefully we can do something to make the skies safer for everyone who flies on a regional airline by continuing to fight against this amendment and for a true ‘One Level of Safety’.”

The group also pledged to build upon their bipartisan support to head off similar legislative intiatives in the future, and promised to continue to tell their story to the freshmen members who were not on Capitol Hill when the Flight 3407 tragedy occurred.

“To all the Republicans who voted with us, from the seven members in the Ohio delegation to Representatives Fortenberry, Simpson, and Reichert clear across the country, you each deserve your own press release,” stated Denise Perry of Loveland, Ohio, who lost her son Johnathan Perry and his fiancee Nicole Korcyzkowski, both U.Penn graduates. “We look forward to working with you in the future as we craft a bipartisan coalition to prevent future attacks like this on last August’s landmark legislation. Complacency is the enemy here, and we are fully committed to reminding everyone of what happened on February 12th, 2009, and ensuring that it is not allowed to repeat itself.”