FAA Reauthorization Measure Fails in House
A bill intended to provide short-term funding for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) failed to get the necessary votes for passage yesterday.
The 2017 Tax Relief and Airport and Airway Extension Act was an attempt to provide six-months of funding to the FAA prior to the expiration of its operating authority this coming Saturday. According to Government Executive, the bill also included “some health and Medicare program extensions and tax relief provisions for victims of hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.”
House Democrats broadly opposed the proposal, with many arguing that any funding measure should provide the FAA with a full year of funding and should not contain measures to modify the structure of the American air traffic control system. Under the bill, introduced by Representatives Kevin Brady (R-TX) and Bill Shuster (R-PA), the FAA’s air traffic control duties would be privatized, moving under the umbrella of a nonprofit corporation.
The bill’s failure by a vote of 245-171 led to accusations of partisan gamesmanship from both sides of the political aisle.
According to Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Rep. Shuster, the member responsible for the privatization language included in the funding measure, “has stubbornly persisted in trying to privatize the most complex, efficient and safest air traffic control system in the world.”
Shuster claimed that, “For too long, we’ve been trying to manage the symptoms rather than finding the cure. But now we have that cure, and we’re making progress every day on this bill to bring long-term, overdue reform to the FAA.”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (R-CA) cited the bill’s short-term duration and privatization efforts as contributing to its failure, saying the FAA “needs long-term certainty for controllers and other dedicated FAA employees, as well as the vital NextGen modernization effort. Unfortunately, Republicans’ radical and dangerous campaign to privatize the FAA has prevented action on the long-term reauthorization the FAA needs.”
House Speaker Paul Ryan instead sought to place the blame at Democrats’ feet, saying, “It is a sad say when House Democrats will—in the name of politics—vote against disaster relief and air traffic safety measures. It’s shameful that politics will trump meaningful relief for families suffering from these devastating hurricanes. House Democrats are willing to shut down air traffic control to make a political point.”
Posted in From the Hill