With Congress back in session, the question on the minds of many pilots is, “What’s next for third class medical reform?”
The answer, not surprisingly, is “that depends.”
With passage of the Pilot’s Bill of Rights 2 by the full Senate at the end of 2015, the legislation moves on to the House for its consideration. But with other big aviation issues on the table, the standalone legislation could take a backseat to a more comprehensive FAA reauthorization bill.
The current extension to the FAA’s funding expires March 31, leaving little time for both the House and Senate to pass and reconcile legislation and send it to the president. A more likely scenario is another extension to keep the FAA in business while lawmakers continue to work on a more comprehensive agreement that could include third class medical reform.
House lawmakers have been working on a reauthorization proposal and have indicated that the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee is likely to mark up the bill sometime in February, after which it would go to the full House.
“We know how important this is to our members,” said Jim Coon, AOPA senior vice president of government affairs. “And getting third class medical reform to the president’s desk as quickly as possible is our top priority.”