House Shelves AIRR Act, Senate to Pursue Own FAA Reauthorization Legislation
Members of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee are moving forward with their own bipartisan Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization legislation in the coming weeks, after House Leadership shelved the Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization (AIRR) Act amid diverse opposition to its air traffic control (ATC) reform provisions.
Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune (R-SD) has said he expects the Committee to mark up its own reauthorization in the coming weeks, and is looking to put the bill on the Senate floor in April. Senate Commerce Committee Ranking Member Bill Nelson (R-FL) has said the Senate FAA reauthorization will not include the same ATC reform provisions as the House bill, which would move the ATC system into a federally-chartered non-profit corporation.
The current FAA authorization expires on March 31, and an extension now appears inevitable. While Chairman Thune has said he prefers a short-term, three month extension to keep the pressure on to complete FAA reauthorization this year, the House has not yet weighed in publicly on the length of any extension. Both chambers are expected to support a “clean” extension, free of any policy riders.
Completion of a long term bill faces other hurdles in addition to the ATC dispute, including the shortened legislative calendar in this election year and emerging disagreement over the budget resolution. These issues could significantly reduce opportunities to move FAA reauthorization legislation through the House and Senate this year.
House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) remains committed to the significant reforms to ATC included in his AIRR Act, and has stated his willingness to continue to educate Members and address their questions on the bill.
This Week’s Hearings:
- Tuesday, March 1: The Senate Appropriations Committee Homeland Security Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the FY 2017 budget request and funding justification for the Transportation Security Administration.
- Wednesday, March 2: The House Appropriations Committee Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the FY 2017 budget for the Federal Railroad Administration and the Federal Aviation Administration.
- Wednesday, March 2: The House Appropriations Committee Homeland Security Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the FY 2017 budget for the Transportation Security Administration.
- Wednesday, March 2: The House Homeland Security Committee Transportation Security Subcommittee will hold a hearing on “The Transportation Security Administration’s FY 2017 Budget Request.”
- Thursday, March 3: The House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Energy and Oversight Subcommittees will hold a hearing on “Department of Energy Oversight: The DOE Loan Guarantee Program.”
- Thursday, March 3: The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee will hold a markup of S.2555, the “Making Opportunities for Broadband Investment and Limiting Excessive and Needless Obstacles to Wireless (MOBILE NOW) Act”; and votes on the nomination of Scott Darling III to be administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and nominations for promotion in the United States Coast Guard.