Get extra lift from AOPA. Start your free membership trial today! Click here

FAA reauthorization overwhelmingly passes in House

Advances GA

The 2023 House FAA reauthorization bill (H.R.3935) passed the U.S. House of Representatives with a 351–69 vote on July 20 with promising provisions for general aviation pilots.

The Capitol is home to the U.S. Congress and its House and Senate governing bodies, which have influence over general aviation. Photo by David Tulis.

The legislation reauthorizes the authority of the FAA and allots more than $100 billion over the next five years for aviation programs, many of which have been championed by AOPA on behalf of members and the GA community. The lion’s share of funding for the FAA and its programs is derived from users of our nation’s aviation system and deposited into the Airport and Airway Trust Fund.

Introduced on June 9 by House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-Mo.), Ranking Member Rick Larsen (D-Wash.), Aviation Subcommittee Chairman Garret Graves (R-La.), and Aviation Subcommittee Ranking Member Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), the House FAA reauthorization bill earned unanimous approval from the T&I committee on June 14, and received overwhelming bipartisan support in the full House in the July 20 passage.

While an effort from AOPA and pilot groups to include an amendment to require fair, reasonable, and transparent FBO fees was foiled by a misinformation campaign undertaken by airport and FBO advocates, the House reauthorization bill is still the most GA-forward FAA reauthorization in history.

The bill addresses airport issues— including prioritizing GA and small airports for funding, making funds eligible to address our nation’s GA hangar shortage, and requiring 100LL be available at airports until an unleaded fuel replacement for the fleet is widely available.

Many issues impacting pilots are also addressed as the bill seeks to expand BasicMed; requires a list of alternative ADS-B technologies in certain airspace to be published; clarifies the definition of flight instruction; requires improvements to the designated pilot examiner program; seeks to eliminate the aircraft registration backlog; establishes a working group to address the special issuance process; makes recommendations to ensure timely and efficient medical certification for pilots; and proposes needed improvements to the online medical portal to enhance pilot and AME case tracking and communication.

Championed by Graves, a GA pilot, the legislation is also the first FAA bill in history that contains a GA title.

“America has always been the gold standard in aviation, and this bill ensures that we remain the world leader,” said Graves. “This bipartisan legislation improves the safety of our system, our airport infrastructure, and the quality of service for passengers. In addition, this bill provides the first title dedicated specifically to our critical general aviation sector—the backbone of the American aviation system.”

“Chairman Sam Graves and Ranking Member Rick Larsen have full knowledge of general aviation’s importance to this country, and that is reflected in this FAA reauthorization bill,” said AOPA President Mark Baker. “We thank the leaders, and the full House, for ensuring that GA’s needs are front and center in this legislation.”

The FAA's current authority expires on September 30, so both chambers are on a tight deadline to reconcile the two versions of the bill and deliver the approved legislation to the president’s desk. With the Senate’s FAA reauthorization stalled in committee because of negotiations over the 1,500-hour rule and pilot retirement age, an extension on the bill may be imminent.

Here are just a few of the provisions AOPA advocated for in the House-passed bill that would benefit GA.

Lillian Geil

Communications Specialist
Communications Specialist Lillian Geil is a student pilot and a graduate of Columbia University who joined AOPA in 2021.
Topics: Advocacy, Capitol Hill, FAA Funding

Related Articles