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Airplane Ban Stripped From Bailout Bill

Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Bank executives will get to fly their company jets after all.

House legislation placing restrictions on financial institutions that get assistance through the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program had included a provision that recipients of the money would be prohibited from owning or leasing private aircraft.

But Kansas is one of the nation's centers of aircraft manufacturing, and Kansas lawmakers complained that the provision could reduce aircraft orders, cost jobs, and damage the industry's image.

On Tuesday, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank, D-Mass, the author of the bill, lifted the jet ban from the bill.

In a letter to Frank on Monday, Rep. Dennis Moore, a Kansas Democrat who sits on the Financial Services Committee, argued that the industry employs more than 44,000 workers in Kansas and that suppliers employ many more. "General aviation contributes more than $150 billion to the U.S. economy annually and employs more than 1,265,000 people," Moore wrote.

Also on Monday, Rep. Todd Tiahrt, a Republican whose Kansas district has the biggest manufacturing presence, advised that he would seek an amendment to have the provision removed.

Relinquishing the jets was part of a broader provision that included limits on executive compensation, the same type of limits included in government loan agreements with General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC last month.

Chrysler, GM and Ford Motor Co. executives caused a stir in Washington when they flew their private jets into town last year to plead their case for a bailout from Congress.

"We have to be careful about Congress overreacting, leading to the unintended consequences of losing these high-skilled, good-paying jobs right here in Kansas," Moore said.