Senate passes FAA extension; schedules hearing on long-term authorization

Passage by the Senate of the 23rd extension of funding for the FAA keeps programs going until Feb. 17. The House had passed its short extension Jan. 24. Both Houses will now get busy on a full-term authorization.

A short extension time was given after conferences resolved the primary issue that had prevented the two Houses from coming to a full-term agreement, an issue that centered on airline union voting conditions. FAA has not had full-term authorization since 2007.

Although the principal stumbling block toward full authorization has apparently been resolved, other issues remained to be ironed out. The Senate will hold a hearing the afternoon of Tuesday, Jan. 31, to consider the long-term bill. The House has yet to schedule its consideration.

Commenting on the short extension, Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.) said: “We must bring to a conclusion a long-term FAA bill to help create jobs, modernize the nation’s aviation infrastructure and air traffic control system and reform FAA programs.”

There is optimism that at long last the FAA might get back into long-term planning.


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