A Busy September...
I appreciate you letting me bring you this brief update—this month is certainly one of the busiest that I can remember, and I have focused my efforts on introducing some important new bills.
Last week, I introduced HR 6926 the ‘Pilot Act of 2018’. This bill is a follow-up on an issue of great concern to me; the rapidly growing shortage of commercial and military pilots here in the United States. As the chairman of the Military Personnel Subcommittee for the House Armed Services Committee, I became involved with this matter given the fact that we have so many military pilots leaving at the 12-year mark, when they are at the peak of their proficiency, for the commercial airlines who are experiencing a significant shortage of pilots. Under this bill, the loan deferment period for student pilots is extended from 6 months to 3 years after they complete their training. Doing so gives them the ability to obtain the required flight hours so they can start working as commercial pilots before their student loan repayments start—in the long term this should help ease the pilot shortage.
In 2013, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a rule increasing the minimum flight hours required for an Airline Transport Pilot License from 250 hours to 1,500, former military pilots require a minimum of 750 flight hours; for graduates from academic programs with approved aviation majors, the flight hour requirement is 1,000 hours; and for graduates with associate degrees in approved aviation programs, the requirement is 1250 hours. The cost of completing flight training can also be significant. Depending on a number of factors, it can cost upwards of $80,000 to complete flight training. When these students have completed their course work, however, they typically have around 500 flight hours. These “nugget” aviators then have to find a way to continue to fly until they can accumulate the required flight hours for their commercial license . Under current student loan rules, students must begin repayment on student loans within 6 months after graduation, but this is unrealistic while at the same time they are still struggling to acquire their necessary flight time and that's why I'm proposing extending their repayment to begin in three years.
| Ms. Juanita Duggan, NFIB CEO, and Rep. Mike Coffman
On Wednesday, I was honored with a National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) “Guardian of Small Business” award. As a former small business owner myself, I personally know how challenging, yet rewarding, running a small business can be and I have always supported easing regulations and access to small business loans for our future entrepreneurs. The good news here is that a recent report
by the NFIB indicates that small business optimism has shattered a 35 year record— something that when combined with our state's low unemployment rate
(2.9%) is positive, given we are now also seeing wage growth for workers.
Finally, I participated in a House Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing title “Veteran Suicide Prevention: Maximizing Effectiveness and Increasing Awareness
”. I have long stated that a contributing factor in veterans’ suicide is the drug-centric modality of treatment that the VA too often uses in treating veterans with PTSD and other behavioral disorders. At the hearing, I once again pressed the VA to update its guidelines and to ensure its medical staff takes additional care in its treatment protocols and when doing so, to consider how excessive use of psychotropic drugs may increase a veteran’s risk for suicide. I invite you to view the hearing by clicking HERE
or view my remarks by clicking on the image above.
As always, I invite you to stay in contact with me via my website, facebook or twitter account. It's an honor to represent you in Washington, D.C.