It is looking increasingly unlikely that an FAA reauthorization bill can be passed by yearend, meaning yet another short-term extension is on the horizon.
FAA is currently operating under a three-month extension that expires Dec. 31, leaving little time for a full reauthorization bill to be completed. A Senate floor vote would have to occur by early December at the latest to meet the yearend deadline, and a congested legislative schedule makes that a long-shot, industry sources say.
The House has already passed its version of reauthorization and it has been putting pressure on the Senate to do the same. The bill has actually been approved by the Senate Commerce Committee, but the holdup has been the Senate Finance Committee, which has authority over tax and fee increases.
Senate leadership has made the right noises about FAA reauthorization being a priority, and the bill is expected to only need two days of floor debate if that much time can be found on the calendar. However, even if the Senate does pass the bill, it would have to resolve differences with the House version in conference committee.
The current extension was proposed by House lawmakers in September, with the three-month duration aimed at putting pressure on the Senate to take action. If another extension is required, it will be the eighth since the agency’s last authorization expired two years ago.
Airport groups in particular have urged Congress to pass an FAA bill this year, and Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) has also stressed this timeline.
Source: AVIATION WEEK