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House Passes Compromise FAA Reauthorization Bill

Heading to Senate Floor for Vote

September 27, 2018 - Legislation reauthorizing and funding the FAA for the next five years (H.R. 302) has been passed in the House of Representatives and is heading to the Senate after a bipartisan agreement on the base language and amendments was reached by transportation committee leaders from both the House and the Senate.

The House also passed a short-term FAA extension, H.R. 6897, by voice vote. This measure will give the Senate an extra week to pass the reauthorization bill, moving the deadline from September 30 to October 7.

The bill does not contain air traffic control privatization or new user fees, which EAA CEO and Chairman of the Board Jack J. Pelton said was a highlight for general aviation.

“For general aviation what is most important is we have now ensured that privatization of the air traffic control system is unlikely to happen in the next five years,” Pelton said. “It was a strong coalition of all of the GA stakeholders that made our voices heard and got the facts on the table with regards to privatization and its impact on general aviation. This is a great victory, one of the biggest we’ve had collectively in a long time.”

Pelton went on to say that the five-year duration of the authorization would give the FAA a solid foundation on which to build in the coming years.

“We have not had a reauthorization bill passed in nearly a decade; we always had to operate under continuing resolutions and now we have not only a three-year bill, which it has been in the past, but a five-year bill,” Pelton said. “This ensures stability in funding for the FAA, so they can consistently carry out NextGen programs, investments in new technology, and modernization.”

Other reauthorization bills have appeared and faltered in recent years, and until this bill was finalized it appeared the 115th Congress might adjourn without a reauthorization bill reaching the floor. Pelton credited EAA’s advocacy team, a strong coalition of aviation interests, and the tireless efforts of EAA members everywhere with helping to push this bill through to completion.

“The EAA advocacy team has been working on this for a long, long time with the support and help of our membership,” Pelton said. “If it weren’t for our members responding to our calls to action, writing letters and contacting their representatives, this would not have gotten done. EAA is very careful and mindful of the topics we engage our membership on, and this was a case where without our members getting involved with their elected officials our voices would not have been heard.”

H.R. 302 contains language regarding dozens of aviation-related topics that will have wide-ranging implications, should it be passed. EAA is reviewing the full text of the bill and its various impacts on the personal and recreational flying community and will report on various elements of the legislation in the weeks ahead.

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