The 21st temporary extension of authorization for the FAA expires Sept. 16 and another period of possible shutdown looms.
Congress returns Tuesday, Sept. 6, after an August recess — and early indications suggest continued disagreements between the Senate and House of Representatives over authorization funding for the agency.
President Obama and the Senate committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation say they want a “clean” extension of authorization, that is, no changes or limitations. The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee does not agree. Obama recently made a public statement about extending surface transportation legislation but has not included aviation, other than citing corporate jets as business perks.
A major difference now between the Senate and House Committees relates to union voting in aviation transportation matters. With Obama getting criticism from unions, he and the Transportation Committee could continue a strong stand against the House position.
Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.) who chairs the House committee, accused the Democrats of neglecting aviation legislation for more than four years and leaving major transportation legislation “in the ditch for more than a year.” He said when he returns he will consult with the Republican leadership before granting the 22nd FAA extension.
It appears the best the FAA can expect now is another short-term funding.