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Government Shutdown Averted, FAA Authorization Extended, Nomination Hearing Held

With the passage of a stopgap funding bill this past Saturday, Congress was able to avoid a government shutdown and extend the FAA’s authorization. Funding for the federal government is secure for an additional 45 days, giving additional time for the passage of a host of bills needed to secure annual appropriations. The extension of the FAA’s authorization now gives the Senate until the end of the year to pass a reauthorization bill, with the House having already passed H.R. 3935, the “Securing Growth and Robust Leadership in American Aviation Act.”

The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation held a hearing on Wednesday, October 4, to consider Michael Whitaker’s nomination for FAA Administrator. Whitaker was nominated in early September with support from many in the commercial and general aviation communities.

"We support the nomination of Michael Whitaker as FAA Administrator and we urge the Senate to take swift action to complete his confirmation,” said EAA CEO and Chairman Jack J. Pelton. “We also urge Congress to provide much-needed stability for the FAA and the aviation community by passing both the authorization and appropriations measures in a timely manner.”

In his testimony, Whitaker indicated that if confirmed, he would immediately focus on three things: work to not just maintain the safety record but build upon it, build the aviation system of the future, and make the FAA a place of choice of where aviators want to build their careers. Whitaker is a private pilot and, in response to a question from Sen. Budd (R-North Carolina), stated that recently completed BasicMed. A vote in the Senate on the nomination is expected soon.

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