The House and Senate have passed a measure that would extend FAA programs through the end of 2010.
This is the sixteenth short-term extension since the last FAA reauthorization expired in 2007. The House passed an FAA bill in 2009, and the Senate passed its version of the bill in March 2010. Since then, the House and Senate have been working out the differences between their two bills. AOPA and two dozen other aviation-related organizations urged the Senate to move forward on the long-overdue measure in a joint letter in September.
Certain issues not related to general aviation—including one regarding the number of long-distance flights allowed to fly to and from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and a labor provision that affects FedEx and UPS—have held up passage of a long-term bill. AOPA Vice President of Legislative Affairs Lorraine Howerton explained those issues in an AOPA Live interview last week and discussed the importance of passing the bill before the end of the year.
“If it does not move forward before this Congress adjourns, there is a new Congress that starts up in January, and that new Congress can then open up the FAA authorization bill, add and detract issues, and come up with a brand new bill. At that point, user fees will become very fluid as a topic because they become fluid as a topic every time FAA funding is debated,” Howerton said.