Senate Could Pass FAA Reauthorization Act on Monday
On Monday, the Senate is expected to hold a cloture vote on the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act of 2016. The Senate considered the FAA Reauthorization Act most of last week, adopting a variety of bipartisan amendments to the bill that would reauthorize FAA programs through September 2017.
However, the bill stalled on Wednesday and Thursday of last week over an argument over partisan amendments. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) initiated the situation, threatening to filibuster the bill if her amendment extending passenger airline pilot hours of service regulations to cargo airline pilots was not given a vote. During the impasse, Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) offered his own controversial amendment requiring certain airports to install biometric entry-exit technology or risk losing funding from the Airport Improvement Program. Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune (R-SD) has around 25 bipartisan amendments that will be adopted if the impasse is resolved, though it is unclear if a deal on the Boxer #3489 and Sessions #3591 amendments can be negotiated at this time.
The FAA Reauthorization Act does have broad bipartisan support, receiving a 94-4 vote to invoke cloture last week, and will be expected to pass barring any attempts by Senators to thwart the effort.
Senate Appropriations Committee to Mark Up THUD Appropriations Bill
The Senate Appropriations Committee Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Subcommittee will hold a markup of the FY 2017 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) Appropriations Act on Tuesday, April 19. The Senate Appropriations Committee approved FY 2017 302(b) suballocations last week, which would provide $56.5 billion for the THUD Appropriations Act, down from $57.3 billion in FY 2016.
The THUD bill will determine the level of funding for the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program and the Capital Investment Grant (CIG) program. The CIG program funds New Starts, Small Starts, and Core Capacity Improvement projects for transit systems. It is unclear whether Senate Appropriators will follow the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act’s treatment of Amtrak grants. The recent surface transportation reauthorization would split Amtrak funding into two accounts, one for the profitable Northeast Corridor and the other for the rest of the National Network. The FY 2016 Omnibus Appropriations Act, agreed to just weeks after the FAST Act last December, followed the previous practice of including all funding for Amtrak under a single account.
Senator Boxer sent a letter to Appropriations Committee Leadership decrying anticipated efforts to include a provision in the THUD bill that would preempt state laws regarding trucking hours of service, a perennial issue in the THUD Appropriations Act, calling the provision a “poison pill.”
Later in the week, on Thursday, April 21, the full Senate Appropriations Committee will consider the THUD Appropriations Act. It is unclear when Senate Republicans may try to consider the bill on the floor, though next week’s floor consideration of other appropriations bills may provide some insight into how the appropriations process will proceed in the election year.
This Week’s Hearings:
- Tuesday, April 19: The Senate Appropriations Committee Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Subcommittee will hold a markup of the FY 2017 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act.
- Tuesday, April 19: The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold an oversight hearing to examine challenges and opportunities for oil and gas development in different price environments.
- Tuesday, April 19: The House Homeland Security Committee Border and Maritime Security Subcommittee will hold a hearing titled “Keeping Pace with Trade, Travel, and Security: How does Customs and Border Protection Prioritize and Improve Staffing and Infrastructure?”
- Tuesday, April 19: The House Homeland Security Committee Transportation Security Subcommittee will hold a hearing titled “Pipelines: Securing the Veins of the American Economy.”
- Wednesday, April 20: The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety, and Security Subcommittee will hold a hearing titled “The State of the U.S. Maritime Industry: Stakeholder Perspectives.”
- Wednesday, April 20: The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will hold a markup of General Services Administration Capital Investment and Leasing Program Resolutions; legislation to designate the federal building at 99 New York Avenue NE, in the District of Columbia as the “Ariel Rios Federal Building”; and H.R.4937, the “Protecting our Infrastructure of Pipelines and Enhancing Safety Act of 2016.”
- Thursday, April 21: The Senate Appropriations Committee will hold a markup of the FY 2017 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act and the FY 2017 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act.
- Thursday, April 21: The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Public Lands, Forests, and Mining Subcommittee will hold a business meeting to hear testimony on the following pieces of legislation:
- 1167, the Owyhee Wilderness Areas Boundary Modifications Act;
- 1423, the Central Coast Heritage Protection Act;
- 1510, the Wild Olympics Wilderness and Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 2015;
- 1699, the Oregon Wildlands Act;
- 1777, to amend the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act to authorize the secretary of Agriculture to maintain or replace certain facilities and structures for commercial recreation services at Smith Gulch in Idaho;
- 2018, to convey, without consideration, the reversionary interests of the United States in and to certain non-federal land in Glennallen, Alaska;
- 2223, the Black Hills National Cemetery Boundary Expansion Act;
- 2379, the Udall Park Land Exchange Completion Act of 2015; and
- 2383, the Utah Test and Training Range Encroachment Prevention and Temporary Closure Act.