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Trump jumps into air traffic control fight

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The Hill discusses air traffic control reform with Marc Scribner. 

Another way Trump could be helpful, according to advocates of the spinoff plan, is to draw the public’s attention to the issue through his signature style: on Twitter or at rallies. Getting the public on board with the changes is a key goal for bill backers.

Marc Scribner, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, suggested that Trump follow the lead of a former congressman who once held up a strip of flight paper during a hearing to show what air traffic controllers use to track flights.

“If the public knew we are still tracking air traffic using a little piece of paper, that’s a powerful visual,” Scribner said. “I’d hope there would be some sort of public outreach push from the White House. That’s something the president and administration has a much easier time doing than even a powerful chairman.”

A visit to Canada, which set up a similar outside agency to oversee air traffic control operations 20 years ago, could also help shine a spotlight on the issue. The Hill reported that Chao is considering a trip to the country in the coming weeks.

But Trump’s support could also be troublesome. Democrats have shown little appetite to work with him on many issues, though infrastructure investment could be one area of compromise.

“Potentially one downside, given how polarizing the Trump administration has been, people who are reflexively opposed to the Trump administration may not take the time to actually investigate the proposal,” Scribner said. “My concern is this is going to get caught up with other controversies.”

The spinoff plan also still appears to face opposition among Republican tax writers and appropriators.

Scribner, however, predicted that appropriators may use their pull to avoid dramatic funding cuts that were floated in Trump’s budget outline.

“The appropriators are going to have to pick a hill to die on,” he said. “A lot of them would be more interested in using political capital to preserve grant programs.”

Read the full article at The Hill.