Two-Thirds Majority Required

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Because the LaTourette-LoBiondo bill is jumping the line by not going through the usual vetting process in committee, it has to be introduced under a "suspension of the rules" with the blessing of House Speaker Dennis Hastert and Majority Leader John Boehner. After that, it must pass with a two-thirds majority, the same level of support President Bush would need if he vetoed it. "We might as well get it now," LaTourette noted. Observers say the bill has a good chance to pass. The new bill is the much-softened culmination of a legislative path that began with a bid to strip the FAA of the power to exploit its powers in the impasse process. Not long after the impasse was declared, a bill was presented that would have automatically sent stalled contract talks between the FAA and the controllers to binding arbitration. A parallel bill was also introduced in the Senate. The House bill had a clear majority of support (including 75 Republicans) but there are reports that pressure from senior Republican members kept that bill stalled in committee and that the compromise LaTourette-LoBiondo bill has been agreed to by the majority of Republicans, many of whom oppose congressional intervention in a labor dispute. There are those in Congress who are itching to get into that fight, however. Rep. Joe Knollenberg (R-Mich.) is campaigning to defeat the bill as a way of reining in "out-of-control union compensation," he told the National Review.