Could be time to overhaul air safety system that depends on a strip of paper

There is a bill in Congress that would add the U.S. to a growing list of countries that have privatized air traffic control. Sounds like a dream Republican plan: Flipping a government agency to the private sector and freeing it into the wilds of the free market.


Even though it has President Donald Trump behind it, none of Mississippi’s three Republican representatives has committed to voting for the bill next week. So, Burnley and GOP operative/lobbyist Austin Barbour made a whirlwind tour of Mississippi media Friday to try to exert some pressure.

They haven’t been able to meet 4th Congressional District Rep. Steven Palazzo in person and his staff told them he’s still studying the proposal. He hasn’t responded to an email from the Sun Herald either.

They don’t have commitments from Gregg Harper, R-3, and Trent Kelly, R-1. They haven’t even tried Democrat Bennie Thompson of the 2nd District.

There has been opposition all along. The Senate Appropriations Committee, chaired by Thad Cochran, R-Miss., rejected the proposal earlier this year. That could be overcome when the House and Senate hammer out differences in spending bills.