"It's a great relief to have a final solution," said Rep. Kenny Marchant, R-Coppell, whose district includes Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. "The fact that none of the parties are completely happy and all of the parties are relieved to have it over should be a sign that it's a good agreement."
Rep. John Conyers of Michigan, the top Democrat on the judiciary committee, argued against a frequent ally, Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Dallas, whose district includes Love Field.
Mr. Sensenbrenner [R-Wisconsin], recalling the "Don't Mess with Texas" bumper stickers in the House garage, said, "Tonight is one of the nights where we ought to mess with Texas.
"This is the most anti-consumer, anti-free-enterprise legislation that has come before this House in a long time," he said.
Rep. Kay Granger, R-Fort Worth, was distributing red "Vote Yes" fliers to members on the floor; Ms. Johnson had her own yellow fliers supporting the bill.
The final tally, which came just past 10 p.m. Dallas time, was 386-22.
[Terry] Trippler said consumers shouldn't expect ticket prices to go down at D/FW because Fort Worth-based American will still be able to charge a premium for nonstop flights, compared with the connecting and one-stop service that Southwest Airlines will offer from Love. American operates more than 80 percent of the passenger flights at D/FW.
Another local lawmaker summed up the debate: "This bill is important to North Texas, the air-service community at large and my constituents at Love Field, which is in the heart of my district," said Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Dallas. "I am not anti-competitive. I'm not anti-lower fares. I'd be stupid to be that. But I am pro-principle."