What’s holding up FAA reauthorization?

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The House and Senate once again are trying to resolve sticky issues to pass a FAA reauthorization bill before the latest extension expires on July 3. Staffs from both sides of the hill continue to meet, with much going on behind the scenes. Several issues remain to be settled, but the biggest stumbling block affects FedEx.

When FedEx began, it was an overnight flying cargo system under airline regulations. It grew to much more than flying, adding many ground delivery services. The House passed a bill that would take FedEx out of the airline rules and put the company under the National Labor Relations Act, which affects unionization of employees. The Senate passed a bill that does not have the change.

FedEx’s home office is in Tennessee and both senators from that state are standing firm in not accepting the House bill. There are reports that they have threatened filibusters if the final version agreed to changes FedEx’s standing and is put to a vote.

The FAA has been operating under a series of three-month temporary extensions since 2007. While the FedEx issue is not the only point that has delayed passage of regular reauthorization, it has become a major issue to resolve. Progress has been made and staffs are optimistic that this time an agreement can be reached — before the expiration of the extension expires on July 3.

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