Another day, another round of public bipartisan opposition to the Obama Department of Justice's lawsuit to block the pending American Airlines and US Airways merger. In today's edition, a coalition of big city mayors wrote to Attorney General Eric Holder expressing their collective concern that blocking the merger will harm their cities' economic growth and airline industry employees. The letter concludes:
By attempting to block the proposed combination, the Department has needlessly added to the uncertainty that these employees and their families must endure and has put jobs at risk.
Our cities rely on the airline industry to support existing businesses, attract new businesses and to keep our local economies moving forward. e health and well-being of our cities and our citizens depends on this combination moving forward.
For these reasons, we ask you to settle your lawsuit with American Airlines and US Airways and allow the combination to proceed.
It was signed by seven mayors: Patsy Kinsey (D-Charlotte), Michael Nutter (D-Philadelphia), Greg Stanton (D-Phoenix), Mike Rawlings (D-Dallas), Betsy Price (R-Fort Worth), and Carlos A. Gimenez (R-Miami-Dade County). In a surprising twist, former Obama White House chief of staff and current Democratic Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel also signed the letter.
It was announced this afternoon that Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt (R) intends to file an amicus brief supporting the merger, which will likely be joined by other states.
I previously noted the dwindling support for the Justice Department's deeply flawed lawsuit and recommended two real pro-competitive policy reforms Congress and the president ought to pursue. President Obama's most important constituency, organized labor, has strongly opposed the merger lawsuit since its filing. As the ranks of opponents from both sides of the aisle grow, it is becoming unclear what the Obama administration hopes to accomplish by continuing forward with its misguided attack on the American Airlines-US Airways merger.