Lawmaker Not Convinced

Houston Democratic congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee says she’s not convinced the proposed merger between Continental and United Airlines will benefit the American people. She’s written to the Attorney General and the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee to review the agreement. Pat Hernandez has the story.

Jackson Lee chairs the Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee of the Homeland Security Committee. She told reporters downtown she would study the proposed merger.

“I have sent two letters: a letter to the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee — in which I’ve sent, asking for a hearing on this particular merger  and asking them to put a very severe litmus test to determine whether or not this meets the standard of the anti-trust laws of the federal government — and I’ve also written to Attorney General Eric Holder asking for and requesting a full investigation into the merger.”

Shelia Jackson Lee chart on merger questionsShe said questions still needed to be answered.

“I am not supporting this legislation, and I will tell you why. The questions have to be asked under federal jurisdiction: whether or not we will have any saved jobs, whether any jobs will be created, headquarters; is it open to negotiations, operation center, compliance with federal anti-trust laws and the benefit to Houston.”

Continental has promised Houston that the merged carrier will remain a top employer. But business consultants like Marty McVey, who attended the briefing, was not convinced. He says we could be allowing the creation of a company that’s too big to fail.

“United, in looking at their financials, they’re in deep trouble. They’re at 82-million dollars they’ve lost, reported last year, 380-million dollars reported the year before. So, I rise today and against this merger, and ask that the Department of Justice look at this very closely.”

Congresswoman Jackson Lee says in the merger, there must be benefits to the community and the American people.

“To the heads of United and Continental, please come to Houston. Stand and explain to us, and talk to the Houstonians who work for you, as well as the surrounding area in the state of Texas, come stand here as you’ve stood in New York and in Chicago.”

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