March 30, 2011
By Dan Namowitz
With the FAA’s current funding authority set to expire March 31, the House and Senate approved a short-term reauthorization of the agency’s operations and programs through the end of May.
Both the House and the Senate passed the extension measure on March 29, acting on the latest of a series of extensions that have kept the FAA operating since the last FAA reauthorization bill expired in 2007. The bill was forwarded to the president’s desk.
The extension “will ensure that aviation programs continue to operate while Congress continues its work on legislation to set the policies and priorities for this critical leg of our nation’s economy,” said House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman John L. Mica (R-Fla).
“HR 1079 is the first, and hopefully last, FAA extension of the 112th Congress,” said aviation subcommittee Chairman Tom Petri (R-Wis.). “There is a strong commitment and much needed momentum to finally complete a long-term FAA bill, more than three years after the last reauthorization expired, and I fully believe we will do so.”The House is expected to begin debating a four-year FAA reauthorization bill by week’s end. The Senate passed its own two-year bill in February, with a House-Senate conference to resolve differences after the House passes its bill.
“We are hopeful this will be the last short-term extension for the FAA and the House and Senate can work out any differences between the two bills in conference before this latest extension expires” said Lorraine Howerton, AOPA vice president of legislative affairs.
Dan Namowitz is an aviation writer and flight instructor. He has been a pilot since 1985 and an instructor since 1990.
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