The FAA Reathorization Act currently in force dates back to 2012, and repeated attempts to try to replace it have failed – resulting in a series of cobbled together extensions. Last year, Congress failed to come up with a compromise bill after the House offered the original AIRR Act, calling for privatization of Air Traffic Control, and the Senate offered a much tamer bill without controversial changes. Lawmakers passed a last minute extension just before the August recess.
With lawmakers focused on healthcare and tax reform, in addition to disaster relief, House Republicans tried to fast-track passage of another extension – a move which requires two-thirds support of members to succeed. But top Democrats sent a “Dear Colleague” letter to other members, announcing their opposition to the bill because of Republican additions that were totally unrelated to the FAA Extension, including flood insurance issues, tax credits for hurricane victims, and even expiring health care programs.
“…Today the House is scheduled to consider under suspension a bill that packages together a six-month extension of authority for the FAA along with several other provisions. We write to ask that you join us in opposing it because the Majority is using this must-pass bill to push through unrelated Republican priorities – all while continuing to block Democrats from bringing the DREAM Act to the Floor.” said the letter.
“Democrats support reauthorization of the FAA, which is long overdue as a result of Republicans’ failure to craft a bill that can obtain bipartisan majority support. Unfortunately, now that we are just days away from the expiration of the current authorization, the Majority, without consultation or cooperation with Democrats, has added a partisan package of extraneous provisions…”
The bill failed 245-171. House Republicans plan to bring the bill up again under a rule that would require only a simple majority. But some House Republicans also disagree with the bill, unwilling to support privatization of the FAA; and Senate Democrats are also unlikely to agree with the bill – which leaves the immediate fate of the FAA up in the air.
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
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