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Trump lays out plan to privatize air traffic control system

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U.S. President Donald Trump (C) signs the air traffic control initiative at the White House in Washington, U.S., June 5, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

President Donald Trump outlined a plan on Monday to privatize the U.S. air traffic control system to modernize outdated systems and lower the cost of flying, but the proposal faced immediate criticism from Democrats.

Trump’s White House East Room announcement on air traffic control is part of a week-long push to publicize his plans to overhaul the country’s aging infrastructure as the White House confronts a growing probe into alleged ties between his campaign and Russia.

Trump described his plan as representing an “air travel revolution”, urging the U.S. Congress to separate it from the Federal Aviation Administration.

“We’re proposing reduced wait times, increased route efficiency and far fewer delays. Our plan will get you where you need to go quickly, more reliably, more affordably, and yes, for the first time in a long time, on time,” he said.

REFILE CORRECTING BYLINE U.S. President Donald Trump announces his initiative on air traffic control in the United States from the East Room of the White House in Washington, U.S. June 5, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Executives from United Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines [HAII.UL], American Airlines and Southwest Airlines, which are all represented by Airlines for America, attended the Trump speech. The group praised the Trump plan.

The proposal to privatize the air traffic control system will encounter major hurdles in Congress where Democrats and some Republicans oppose it. Trump has frequently said that ongoing modernization efforts were already obsolete.

In a summary document released by the White House, the Trump administration proposes a three-year transition period to shift oversight of air traffic control.

The proposal says a board made up of airline, union and airport officials would oversee the non-profit entity. The new entity should honor existing labor agreements but controllers would no longer be federal employees.

The Federal Aviation Administration spends nearly $10 billion a year on air traffic control funded largely through passenger user fees, and has about 28,000 air traffic control personnel.

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House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement that Trump was recycling “a tired Republican plan that both sides of the aisle have rejected” and would “hand control of one of our nation’s most important public assets to special interests and the big airlines.”

“Today we are taking the first important step to clearing the runway for more jobs, lower prices and much, much, much better transportation,” Trump said.

On Wednesday, Trump will travel to Cincinnati to talk about improvements to the 12,000 miles (19,300 km) of inland waterways, dams, locks and ports critical for shipping farm products, and will deliver a speech about his vision for infrastructure.

The infrastructure push comes as the White House seeks to refocus attention on core promises to boost jobs and the economy made by Trump last year during his campaign for office.

Those pledges have been eclipsed by the political furor over Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 U.S. election. That drama will come to a head on Thursday when former Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey, who was leading the Russia probe until Trump fired him, testifies before a U.S. Senate panel.

Trump has denied any collusion between Russia and his campaign. He has struggled to keep the spotlight on plans that could give him a political boost.

The infrastructure events this week were in the works before Comey’s hearing was scheduled. They will give Trump the opportunity to provide some counterprogramming to the drumbeat of Russia news.

Privatization advocates argue that spinning off air traffic control into a non-government entity would allow for a more efficient system and rapid, cost-effective improvements of technology, in part by avoiding the government procurement process.

Opponents, including Delta Air Lines, say the U.S. system is so large that privatization would not save money, and would drive up ticket costs and could create a national security risk. There also are concerns that airlines would dominate the private-company board and limit access to airports by business jets. Most airlines back the plan.

The administration’s formal budget proposal unveiled in May that included plans to privatize the nation’s air traffic control system would boost the budget deficit by about $45 billion over 10 years.

 

America

Trump confirms CIA chief met Kim Jong Un in North Korea

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Donald Trump confirmed CIA Director Mike Pompeo met with the leader of North Korea last week.

“Mike Pompeo met with Kim Jong Un in North Korea last week. Meeting went very smoothly and a good relationship was formed, ” U.S. President Trump says in Twitter post.

He added: “Details of summit are being worked out now. Denuclearization will be a great thing for world, but also for North Korea!”

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President Trump says WTO ‘unfair to U.S.

China, which is a great economic power, is considered a Developing Nation within the World Trade Organisation.

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WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump blasted the World Trade Organization on Thursday, saying the international trade body was “unfair” to the United States while giving China “tremendous perks and advantages,” but he offered no evidence or examples to back up his claim.

“China, which is a great economic power, is considered a Developing Nation within the World Trade Organization. They therefore get tremendous perks and advantages, especially over the US Does anybody think this is fair. We were badly represented. The WTO is unfair to US,” Trump wrote on Twitter.

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President Trump suggests no deal on DACA

He also urged Republicans in charge of the Senate to “go to Nuclear Option to pass tough laws Now.”

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Washington, April 2 : US President Donald Trump suggested on Sunday that there would be no deal to legalize the status of hundreds of thousands of “Dreamers”, undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children.

“No MORE DACA DEAL!” Trump said in an emphatic tweet Sunday morning. DACA refers to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, an Obama administration program that shields Dreamers from deportation, Xinhua reported.

Trump shut it down last fall but gave lawmakers six month to come up with a permanent solution.

Though Congress has been unable to reach a consensus on the issue and stalled the progress, legal challenges to the Trump order has managed to keep DACA in place for now.

The President tweeted a claim on Sunday that Border Patrol agents can’t do their jobs properly because of “ridiculous liberal (Democrat) laws” that allow people caught for illegally staying in the country to be released while awaiting a hearing.

He also urged Republicans in charge of the Senate to “go to Nuclear Option to pass tough laws Now.”

In order to end debate and move forward to a vote on a measure or piece of legislation, Senate rules require 60 votes in the 100-member Senate. Republicans now only control 51 seats, and GOP Senate leaders have opposed Trump’s repeated call to change the longstanding rules.

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