The Hill reports that Shuster has confirmed that the bill will not be brought up for a vote until after the August recess. Shuster told The Hill that he was “disappointed” about the delay, but felt confident that the bill could pass successfully in September.
“I wanted to pass it now, but we’ve got a lot of people moving in the right direction, and so I feel pretty good about where we’re going to be in September,” Shuster said.
“If we had another week here, I think we’d have it on the floor next week. It’s just one of those things where it takes time for members to engage and understand.”
It’s a familiar scenario. The FAA was still working on extensions of the FAA Reauthorization of 2012 set to expire in July when the bill was discussed last year; now it’s operating under another extension – passed in the nick of time – which will expire at the end of September. Postponing a House vote on the bill leaves very little time for negotiation between the two very different House and Senate versions of the bill before yet another extension will be required.
At the heart of the differences between the Senate package and the AIRR Act is Air Traffic Control (ATC). The AIRR Act proposes that ATC be spun out of the FAA and removed to a private organization; the Senate package avoids the controversial topic. Last year, the AIRR Act failed to pass but proponents, finding support from President Trump, decided to renew their efforts this year.
Both House and Senate versions, however, attempt to set deadlines and timeframes for drone integration which could be helpful to the drone industry. Regardless of opinions on the AIRR Act vs the Senate proposal, no decision and another extension won’t help any part of the aviation industry.