Congressman Ted Poe (TX-02), a member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Aviation Subcommittee, met with approximately 60 Continental Airlines employees at George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) last week to discuss various issues of interest to the aviation industry. Congressman Poe was given a first hand look at how the men and women behind the scenes move up to 62,000 passengers, and their baggage, through Bush Intercontinental Airport A DAY.

Employees were given the opportunity to talk with Congressman Poe about issues they feel need attention by members of Congress. Areas of interest discussed included pension legislation allowing airlines longer periods of time to fund their pensions without penalty; unfunded federal security mandate that provides Federal Air Marshal travel at the cost of the airline; the screening process for Canadian travelers and their baggage that currently require duplicate security checks; the fuel tax imposed on airlines that was eliminated for both rail and barge; and a federal grant for a new security screening center at IAH to allow for safer and more efficient federal screening by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employees.

In addition, employees shared their concerns over proposed guidelines set forth by the Department of Transportation (DOT) that would allow foreign investors a greater than 50 percent voting stock in U.S. airline companies. The DOT believes that foreign investments will assist domestic airlines in becoming more financially sound. Continental employees expressed concern with this policy because they feel Americans should be solely responsible for running American-based airline companies. There are also concerns of route changes, purchasing decisions for aircraft and employment changes that would possibly go against our national security interests. Congressman Poe agreed that this proposed plan is not in the best interest of our national security and pledged his support to keep American airlines in the hands of Americans. When I look out across these runways, said Poe, I want to see American-made Boeing aircraft, not European ones. Congressional hearings on this subject will commence on Feb. 8, 2006.

Congressman Poe also offered his support of legislation that would allow airlines to show the amount of taxes airlines collect on behalf of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Currently, airlines contribute 26 percent of the ticket purchase price to taxes. Unlike hotel or car rentals, this breakdown of the total cost is not presented to the consumer on their receipt of purchase. Congressman Poe is interested in legislation that would allow airlines to show this if they choose, but would not be a requirement.

As a member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Congressman Poe regularly meets with industry officials and employees to talk to them about what is being done in Congress on their behalf and offer them the opportunity to speak directly to him about issues they feel need attention. For more information about the committees Congressman Poe serves on, please visit our website,