After its August vacation, Congress returns to Capitol Hill Sept. 9 with a full plate of issues, some of which will directly affect general aviation. As usual in Washington, money is on top of the plate.
Sequestration appears again; the U.S. must raise its debt limit — again — to keep borrowing money; and that proposed $100 per flight user fee for some flights in the busiest airspace hasn’t gone away.
Sequestration has already forced billions in cuts from the 2013 budget. It will also have its effect on the 2014 budget.
Establishing that budget will require passing a dozen bills by both the House and Senate, then reconciling them, then passing the reconciled bills, and then having the President sign them. This is a massive chore to be completed in a short time with such diverse opinions on where, why, and how to spend the public’s money.
Congress will have to act to increase the debt limit to prevent a total government shutdown. After some wrangling, the limit is expected to be raised, but pressure will be put on to seek savings and revenue sources.
In the total scheme of things, the President’s proposal for a $100-per-flight fee for some flights in the busiest airspace might seem like a possible compromise item to move the fiscal process ahead.
As it stands now, all piston-powered airplanes and recreational flights would be exempt from the fee, which would assess $100 for each flight for corporate jets and airline flights.
The alphabet groups and people looking out for the interests of general aviation certainly have a busy time ahead.