WASHINGTON – Lobbyists for America’s senior citizens, oil companies and airlines had a message Sunday for the special joint congressional committee trying to forge a comprehensive deficit reduction plan: tread carefully.
In an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union,” lobbyists for the AARP, American Petroleum Institute and Air Transport Association cautioned that possible options including tax increases and spending cuts could harm their constituencies.
Sean Kennedy of the Air Transport Association warned against raising taxes on “an industry that is the third largest contributor” to economic output.
“The airline industry is one that has shed one-third of its workforce,” Kennedy noted, adding that “proposals circulating would impose another $36 billion in taxes.”
In defense of the possibility of increased airfares, Kennedy claimed that “airline prices have been much lower than inflation over the past 10 years” and argued that “air travel is still a relative bargain.”
Each of the men made their own recommendations for the so-called “super committee” responsible for recommending $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction by November 23, with the penalty of deep spending cuts across the board – from defense to education budgets – if they fail to reach an agreement.
Kennedy pledged that airlines are “going to live with whatever the ‘super committee’ gives us,” but also warned of an impact on “investments in aircraft, jobs, and in service.”