TKG: Cutting Through the Partisan Rancor | The Keelen Group
TKG: Cutting Through the Partisan Rancor

Now that summer is in full swing, and 2013 is officially half over, we would like to take a moment to share what The Keelen Group (TKG) has accomplished so far, and what lies ahead.  

The first six months of the year TKG has been busy - and productive.  And while questions surrounding the effectiveness of Congress has been pervasive, we have helped our clients steer through the political uncertainty and chalk up a few wins during the seemingly unproductive legislative session. 

Our aviation practice was particularly busy, stemming mainly from lingering questions about the effects of sequestration on airport operations.  The steady stream of news stories of how airline travel for millions of passengers would be negatively impacted compelled Congress to provide DOT and FAA with flexibility to better manage their resources in a way that avoided major service interruptions.

Working with our clients, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) and the Southwest Airlines Pilots’ Association (SWAPA), we helped rally support in both the Senate and House of Representatives to give the FAA the flexibility it needed to harness unspent funds to cover costs of air traffic controllers and other essential personnel.

TKG also worked with Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS) on an agreement that was included in compromise legislation benefitting “contract towers,” which are non-FAA, privately-operated air traffic control towers.  These facilities, while not run by the federal government, still provide a vital service and act as an economic engine for surrounding communities.  Many of these tower controllers, like their federal counterparts, are represented by NATCA and are vital to business aviation.  Keeping these tower operational directly benefits another TKG client, the NetJets Association of Shared Aircraft Pilots (NJASAP).  NetJets pilots, who operate some of the most capable aircraft in the sky, also require the assistance of highly trained professionals to guide them in and out of an airport. 

Another aviation item that we hope to finalize in the second half of the year involves preserving the Federal Flight Deck Officer Program (FFDO).   The program, popular with pilots, provides an additional element of security from terrorist attacks for a meager $25 million annually.  The President’s FY2014 budget submission zeroed out funding for FFDO, which would have effectively eliminated the program. 

Working with SWAPA, we were able to get half of the funding included in the DHS-funding bill that emerged from the House Appropriations Committee.  TKG and SWAPA worked closely with Congressman Richard Hudson (R-NC), the Chairman of the House Transportation Security Subcommittee, to submit an amendment to fully fund FFDO at $25 million.  The bipartisan amendment, which was also co-sponsored by Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), a former top-ranking Democrat on the House Aviation Subcommittee, and former Transportation Committee Chairman John Mica (R-FL), passed the House on June 5.

This bill is now in the hands of the Senate, and TKG will continue to work with SWAPA to ensure lawmakers keep air travel as secure as possible for us, our families, and the traveling public.

TKG has also been hard at work for the Ntional Insulation Association (NIA).

TKG worked with Ron King (pictured above), former President and advisor to the National Insulation Association, during his appearance in front of the House Science Committee hearing on Energy Service Performance Contracts (ESPCs).  Mr. King’s testimony focused on the value of mechanical insulation and how greater use in ESPCs will improve performance. 

Following the testimony portion of the hearing, members posed questions to Mr. King.  Chairman Paul Broun (R-GA) asked King to elaborate on his assertion that mechanical insulation is a superior upgrade when compared to other energy efficiency technologies.  After explaining that mechanical insulation on a dollar per capital basis performs better than other improvements, Chairman Broun and Congressman Maffei (D-CA) expressed their hope that the government will increase the use of mechanical insulation in future ESPC agreements.      

Finally, TKG has made progress in helping the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) preserve rules that prevent the taxpayer-supported practice of slaughtering horses for human consumption.  Through our efforts, we were able to form a bipartisan coalition of House lawmakers to pass an amendment to the Agriculture Appropriations bill to defund USDA activity of the practice.  Should our final efforts be successful, we will be one step closer to ending this gruesome butchering on American soil.

The opportunity to work with our clients is more than a job for us; it is a passion that we embrace wholeheartedly.  At TKG we put aside our partisan feelings to work in a pragmatic way for our clients because we know at the end of the day, it should not matter who gets credit for achieving the goal, but if the goal is attained at all.