Source: CQ TODAY
June 24, 2011
House Passes Three-Week FAA Extension as Lawmakers Work on Long-Term Measure
By Anne L. Kim, CQ Staff
The House passed a three-week extension of federal aviation programs June 24, a move designed to avoid a shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration by month’s end as lawmakers continue negotiations on a long-term reauthorization.
The House, which is in recess this week, passed the extension (HR 2279) by unanimous consent. The current short-term authorization of the FAA (PL 112-16) expires June 30.
The bill would extend through July 22 certain taxes that fund the Airport and Airway Trust Fund, which pays for the bulk of federal aviation programs, as well as the authority to spend money from the fund. It also would provide about $2.8 billion in contract authority for the Airport Improvement Program from Oct. 1, 2010, through July 22.
The FAA has been operating on a series of short-term extensions since the last reauthorization (PL 108-176) expired at the end of fiscal 2007.
Earlier this year, both the House and the Senate advanced their own long-term reauthorization measures. The Senate passed a two-year bill (S 223) on Feb. 17 that would authorize approximately $35 billion, and the House on April 1 passed a four-year measure (HR 658) that would authorize about $60.4 billion.
Negotiations on a pre-conference deal have become bogged down on a number of issues, including differences in funding levels and a provision in the House bill that would repeal a 2010 National Mediation Board rule that makes it easier for airline and railway employees to unionize.
The two measures also differ on the number of long-distance flights that would be allowed in and out of Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.
“It’s time to get this bill done,” said House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee spokesman Justin Harclerode. “Let’s see if the Senate is serious about doing so.”
“The Senate has appointed conferees and has been ready to move forward on this bill for some time,” said Jena Longo, a spokeswoman for the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. “We look forward to working with our House colleagues to do just that.”
Kathryn A. Wolfe contributed to this story.
A version of this article appeared in the June 27, 2011 print issue of CQ Today
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