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Senate FAA Funding Bill Given Priority Status

April 24, 2008 — EAA's Doug Macnair, vice president of government relations, reports that the Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) accorded priority status this week to the Senate's version of the FAA Reauthorization bill (S. 1300), meaning the protracted legislation will be among the Senate bills considered in the coming weeks.

There is some evidence that the recent problems in the airline industry are putting pressure on Congress to move forward with an FAA authorization bill, which includes funding for the Next Generation ATC system. In recent months, negotiations have been ongoing between the Senate Commerce and Finance committees on how best to fund the agency, with disagreements occurring over methods of taxation and user fees.

As reported previously, S. 1300 is opposed by EAA and virtually all other general aviation organizations because it introduces user fees as a funding mechanism for the nation's ATC system through a $25 charge for IFR flights. The House version (HR 2881) contains no such provision and is backed by EAA and other GA organizations.

EAA continues to work on Capital Hill to ensure that user fees are not part of the bill's final version. EAA members should be aware that the bill could soon emerge from committee to the Senate floor, at which time EAA may ask them to contact their senators and buoy support or opposition, depending on what emerges in the final version.

For more information on the user fee issue, visit www.eaa.org/govt/learn_userfees.asp.

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