Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
August 27, 2014

August 21, 2014

As North Carolina Prepares for New Tolls, Opponent Decries ‘Caste System’

Tolling may soon become a routine method of paying for new highway construction even in traditional non-toll states, and drivers may just have to get used to it.

But some drivers are waging a battle to prevent tolling on a congested 26-mile stretch of Interstate 77 in North Carolina.

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August 19, 2014

Uber Hires Former Obama Strategist Plouffe To Run Its PR Efforts (Video)

118824760 445x296 Uber Hires Former Obama Strategist Plouffe To Run Its PR Efforts (Video)

(Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images)

Uber, the company with the popular car-hailing app that has spawned taxi driver protests in cities from Milan to San Francisco, has hired President Barack Obama’s former political strategist David Plouffe to run its political and public relations operations.

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August 18, 2014

WHO, Aviation Groups Urge Focus on Containing Ebola, Not Inhibiting Air Travel

The heads of international travel, aviation and the the World Health Organization issued a joint statement Monday urging national governments and air carriers to not respond to the Ebola outbreak by resorting to “measures that will create unnecessary interference with international travel or trade.”

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August 14, 2014

International Task Force Meets to Devise Rules for Flights Over Conflict Zones

How can another war-related air catastrophe such as the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH 17 be averted?

A task force of 59 government and industry experts convened by the International Civil Aviation Organization is trying to answer that question at a two-day meeting that started Thursday at ICAO’s Montreal headquarters.

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August 13, 2014

Traffic Safety Officials Set Labor Day Crackdown on Driving While Impaired

madd rally001 092712 445x302 Traffic Safety Officials Set Labor Day Crackdown on Driving While Impaired

Barbara and Alan Weatherford of Gulfport, Miss., hold a picture of their daughter, Deanna Tucker, who was killed by a drunk driver in 2011. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Since 2004, all states have had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit of 0.08 as the legal standard for driving while impaired.

But driving after drinking still imposes massive costs, as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reminded Americans Wednesday. With the Labor Day holiday two weeks away, NHTSA launched its annual “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign along with local police officials. The enforcement crackdown runs from August 15 through the Labor Day weekend.

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August 8, 2014

FAA Bans Flights Over Iraq As International Aviation Group Eyes New Warning Procedures

The Federal Aviation Administration on Friday banned U.S. air carriers from flying in the airspace above Iraq.

The FAA order which bans flights over Iraq “until further advised,” was due to the hazards created by fighting between Sunni forces under the Islamic State banner and Kurdish and Iraqi government forces.

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August 7, 2014

CDC Director Details U.S. Efforts to Contain Ebola ‘At the Source’ With Airport Screening (Video)

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Thomas Frieden, told a House hearing Thursday that his agency has deployed teams who are working with officials in four African countries hit by the Ebola pandemic to help them screen departing passengers at the nations’ airports.

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By Tom Curry Posted at 5:27 p.m.
Airports, Security, Travel

August 6, 2014

Delta Will Keep Flying to Liberia Until End of August, But CEO Says ‘On A Day-By-Day Basis’

Delta Airlines CEO Richard Anderson said Wednesday his company would continue to fly to Liberia until the end of this month, but would look to U.S. and international health officials for guidance in the face of the Ebola virus pandemic which has broken out in Liberia and three nearby African countries: Guinea,  Nigeria, and Sierra Leone.

“We’re serving [Liberia] through Aug. 31, but we really take it on a day-by-day basis,” he said in an interview on CNBC.

Delta had previously announced it was discontinuing service to Liberia.

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Missouri Voters Reject Tax Increase to Pay for Transportation Projects

Missouri voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly rejected an increase in the state’s sales tax to pay for highways, roads, and bridges.

The proposed amendment to the state constitution was defeated 59 percent to 41 percent – even though it included elements designed to make it more palatable to voters: it would have explicitly banned tolling on state highways and would have prevented an increase in the state’s tax on gasoline and other motor fuels.

The constitutional amendment would have been a three-quarters of one percent increase to the state’s 4.225 percent sales tax.

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August 1, 2014

Is China’s State-Owned Aircraft Manufacturing Company A Threat to Boeing?

You may wear Chinese-made shirts and not even notice, so will you someday be flying aboard a Chinese-made passenger plane?

The potential threat of China’s commercial aviation sector to American manufacturing – and especially to Boeing — was one focus Thursday of a hearing of the Senate Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security.

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Lame-Duck Transportation Bargaining Scenario Fades

On Thursday night the Senate passed by a vote of 81-13 the House bill to keep the Highway Trust Fund solvent until next spring. Score it as a win for beleaguered House Republican leaders who were coping with a fiasco after they couldn’t find the votes to pass their version of an emergency spending bill to respond to the southern border crisis.

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July 31, 2014

NTSB ‘Concerned’ About Proposal to End Medical Certification for Pilots

The acting head of the National Transportation Safety Board voiced doubts in House testimony Thursday about a proposed bill that would end the Federal Aviation Administration’s medical certification requirement for many general aviation pilots.

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By Tom Curry Posted at 5:16 p.m.

Driving While Stoned Risky, but No Federal Standard Yet

More stoned drivers on the road because of marijuana legalization could be a serious risk, at least according to some lawmakers.

At a hearing Thursday on driving and operating other vehicles while impaired by marijuana, House Subcommittee on Government Operations chairman Rep. John L. Mica, R- Fla., said “we’re going to have more people stoned on the highways and there will be consequences.”

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration official Dr. Jeff Michael told the subcommittee that right now there’s too little data to devise a federal impairment standard. His agency is working with the state of Washington to assess the change in marijuana use by drivers before and after the state’s legalization of the drug.

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Boeing 787 Announcement Comes as Ex-Im Bill Lobbying Intensifies

The announcement Wednesday by Boeing that North Charleston, S.C., will be the site for final assembly of the 787-10, the newest version of its 787 Dreamliner, coincided with a push by a coalition of business groups to urge House Republicans to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank.

The charter for the bank, which is especially important for Boeing’s sales to foreign airlines, expires at the end of September.

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By Tom Curry Posted at 9:22 a.m.

July 30, 2014

Tighter Scrutiny Needed for Railroad Disability Claims, GAO Says

The Railroad Retirement Board, which administers the retirement and disability system for railroad workers and dates back to the 1930s, paid $276 million in disability benefits to nearly 13,000 beneficiaries in fiscal 2012. But the Government Accountability Office said this week that the RRB needs to tighten its scrutiny of disability claims.

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By Tom Curry Posted at 5:19 p.m.

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