With the FAA’s spending authority set to expire Sept. 17, the House and Senate have passed a four-month extension, preventing what could have been a second partial shutdown of the agency since July.
The measure authorizes FAA programs through January 2012, at current levels of funding, while also maintaining at current levels federal highway, transit, and highway safety programs through March 2012. The highway programs would otherwise expire at the end of September. The House unanimously passed the bill Sept. 13, and the Senate approved the bill Sept. 15.
House sponsors from both parties hailed passage, but some decried what would become the twenty-second consecutive short-term extension of FAA funding. When the last short-term reauthorization bill was passed Aug. 4, it brought to an end a two-week partial shutdown of FAA programs that also resulted in public-sector and private-sector layoffs. AOPA President Craig Fuller urged Congress to refocus on a long-term solution as the only way to provide stability to FAA operations and planning.
“We applaud the passage of the FAA extension but continue to urge Congress to move swiftly to reach agreement on a long-term funding bill” said Lorraine Howerton, AOPA vice president of legislative affairs.
The bill passed Sept. 13 was introduced in the House by Transportation Committee Chairman John L. Mica (R-Fla.), Transportation Committee Ranking Member Nick J. Rahall (D-W.Va.), aviation subcommittee Chairman Tom Petri (R-Wis.), highways and transit subcommittee Chairman John J. Duncan Jr. (R-Tenn.), and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.), Ways and Means Ranking Member Sander Levin (D-Mich.), and Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.).