Begich, Johanns Hope Aviation Caucus Can Take Off
Unlike the House, where just about every Member belongs to a handful of caucuses, the Senate is not known for its clubs or formal groups. But two newcomers — Sens. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) and Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) — seem to be ignoring that custom with their newly formed General Aviation Caucus. “The goal of the caucus is to work with pilots, aircraft owners, the aviation industry, and relevant government agencies to insure a safe and vibrant environment exists for General Aviation (GA) in America,— according to a Begich press release. Begich and Johanns, first-termers who represent largely rural states, circulated a “Dear Colleague— letter on Monday in an attempt to boost their membership roster, noting that their caucus “will educate members and staff on aviation issues and will provide a forum for discussion with leaders in the aviation community.— The House has the Bourbon Caucus, the Congressional Black Caucus and the Out of Iraq Caucus, to name just a few of the about 275 groups that exist and are overseen by the House Administration Committee. The Senate, however, has no exhaustive list of caucuses, and records on the matter are scattered and rare. “The House is a larger body, and there’s a strength in numbers in the House, and there’s a lot of caucuses that form,— Senate Historian Don Ritchie said. “The Senate is a bit more individualistic.—Begich spokeswoman Julie Hasquet said the General Aviation Caucus, which draws attention to a rural issue that affects a host of other states, will help her boss push an important agenda that might otherwise get lost in the legislative shuffle. “They just saw this as an opportunity to promote an issue important to their states,— Hasquet said.