House Speaker Paul Ryan stopped by Southwest Airlines Monday during a fund-raising trip to Texas to tout benefits of the new tax law and talk about modernizing the nation's air-traffic control system.
Ryan held a town hall meeting with a small group of Southwest Airlines executives and employees and posed for pictures with people training to become flight attendants.
The visit served as a thank-you to Southwest for extolling a bill passed by the Republican-controlled Congress and signed by President Donald Trump that cut corporate income-tax rates. Southwest paid employees $1,000 bonuses shortly after passage of the bill, which cut Southwest's 2017 liability for deferred taxes by $1.4 billion and is expected to save the company hundreds of millions more this year.
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Congress is due to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration this year. Ryan said Congress should "re-do the whole FAA" and modernize air-traffic control. He also supported a greater role for the private sector in infrastructure, saying it would be impossible to raise enough taxes to pay for the necessary work.
Ryan, who was accompanied by Southwest CEO Gary Kelly and House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, took four questions from the Southwest audience but none from reporters. Ryan was in Texas to raise money for House Republicans and talk about lower taxes, a spokesman said.