FAA funding wrap-up: Twists and turns in Congress

May 1, 2008

FAA funding wrap-up: Twists and turns in Congress

By AOPA ePublishing staff

The Senate is close to agreement on an FAA funding bill without user fees, but the White House is threatening to veto any bill that does not include user fees. The debate continues on the Senate floor.

On April 25, the leaders of the Senate Finance and Commerce Committees announced they had resolved their different approaches to FAA funding and were ready to take a final bill to the floor of the Senate. Their compromise effectively took user fees off the table and preserved the aviation tax system that has provided stable, reliable funding to the FAA for nearly four decades.

But as the full Senate began considering that bill, the White House threatened a veto because the Senate bill (and the House bill passed last September) did not include user fees, didn’t give the airlines greater control over the air traffic control system, and spent too much money on airport improvements.

Meanwhile, the leaders of the Senate Finance and Commerce committees thought they had crafted a bipartisan compromise bill that could be approved by the full Senate, but the bill has hit a snag on the floor over several issues, including an amendment that would affect the pension plans of several major airlines.

On May 1, AOPA President Phil Boyer joined Senate Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and ranking member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) at a press conference in Washington, D.C., to stress the need for key tax provisions in the bill before the Senate. The Finance Committee leaders urged the Senate to pass the FAA funding bill.

May 1, 2008