House action has been delayed because of a controversial proposal to privatize the nation’s air traffic control system contained in a reauthorization bill introduced in the House earlier this year.
“Our organizations represent millions of hard working taxpayers that want Congress to get things done and not let this important bill be stalled because of a provision that divides our community and many within Congress,” the letter said.
The Senate passed its own version of FAA reauthorization, which did not include the privatization measure, in April by a vote of 95-to-3. Now, the letter says, the aviation community is encouraging the House to follow suit, “…so that together we can address important issues and reduce the costly regulatory and certification processes that continue to stifle safety, job creation, and growth in the aviation industry.”
The letter also noted that, aside from the privatization issue, there were many similarities between the House and Senate reauthorization bills. Both measures include third class medical reform, a priority for AOPA and its members, as well as increased funding for the Airport Improvement Program and certification reforms.
Before FAA reauthorization can go to the president for a signature, the House must pass legislation and any differences between the House- and Senate-passed bills must be reconciled. If that doesn’t happen before the July 15 deadline, Congress will need to pass another short-term extension to keep the FAA running. AOPA is urging lawmakers to act quickly so any differences between the House and Senate can be resolved before the deadline.
“We need to get this done so the FAA can get on with important modernization and reform efforts,” said AOPA President Mark Baker. “We know from painful experience that moving from extension to extension is inefficient, creates uncertainty, and slows progress—and that’s something the aviation community just can’t afford at a time when there’s so much work to do.”
In addition to AOPA, the letter was signed by 13 groups: Aerospace Industries Association, Aircraft Electronics Association, Commemorative Air Force, Experimental Aircraft Association, General Aviation Manufacturers Association, Helicopter Association International, International Council of Air Shows, National Agricultural Aviation Association, National Air Transportation Association, National Association of State Aviation Officials, National Business Aviation Association, Recreational Aviation Foundation, and Small UAV Coalition.