By Megan Strader (WICHITA, Kan.)
It's a way of life for many businesses, traveling on a corporate jet. But after executives, from three struggling automakers, showed up for bail out hearings in corporate jets, that way of life became a source of controversy.
"You've got people on capital hill who are making statements because they see something they think is abuse when they don't really understand all of the aspects of it, that make it a competitiveness tool and a very important business tool," explains Dave Franson, a Wichita aviation consultant.
He worries about the negative consequences that could result from one section of the bill. It says "...the eligible automobile manufacturer may not own or lease any private passenger aircraft, or have any interest in such aircraft..."
Wording he says could cause more companies to ground their planes, hitting planemakers in Wichita at a time when business is already struggling.
"Here we're trying to bail out one industry and punish another and it just doesn't make any sense...it's not right," says Congressman Todd Tiahrt.
The Kansas Representative had submitted an amendment to the rules committee asking that the section be struck from the bill. That didn't happen. Now, Tiahrt says Kansas jobs shouldn't be in jeopardy to serve a political point.
"There's a million and a half jobs across the United States, many of them in South Central Kansas, and for us to have a political whim to try and make a statement when failing to address the real underlying problems is just wrong."
But now it's in the Senate's hand, to decide if helping cars take off will mean more planes having to land.