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Friday, October 11, 2013

House FAA Funding Bill Stalls in Senate

Woodrow Bellamy III

As the government shutdown enters its 11th day Friday, the Senate is not voting on a bill passed by the House that would fund FAA operations through Dec. 15.
[Aviation industry leaders gathered for a rally on Capitol Hill Thursday to call for an end to the government shutdown. From left to right: Captain Sean Cassidy of ALPA, Jonathan Grella of USTA, Paul Rinaldi of NATCA, Ed Bolen of NBAA, James Coon of NATA, Jens Hennig of GAMA, and Mike Perrone of PASS. Photo, provided courtesy of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association.]
On Wednesday House lawmakers passed a continuing appropriations bill to fund FAA operations at the fiscal year 2013 sequestered level of spending. The bill is the latest attempt in a piecemeal approach by the House to fund critical federal agency operations while Senate leaders remain committed to passing a single budget bill funding all federal agencies.
According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the House bill "includes the effects to the 2013 sequestration," with $11.9 billion in fiscal year 2014 budget authority and $10.1 billion in outlays for the current fiscal year for FAA. 
Sen. John Rockefeller (D-W. Va.), chairman of the Senate commerce committee, opposed the proposed legislation. 
"I agree that the FAA should be funded immediately, along with all of our other agencies.  The Senate passed a clean continuing resolution to do this – one that a majority of the House supports  – and I believe the House should vote on it today so we can resume the critically important work of our entire federal government," said Rockefeller.
Passage of the bill would allow FAA to at least temporarily reopen its aircraft registry office, the closing of which has had the biggest impact on the aviation industry, as it continues to prevent manufacturers from delivering new aircraft.
On Thursday, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) hosted a rally on Capitol Hill calling on lawmakers to end the government shutdown. NATCA, whose controllers remain on the job without pay during the shutdown, was joined by representatives from the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) and the National Air Transportation Association (NATA) among others. 
"The many small and mid-sized companies that rely on the Registry to be open and accessible are hurting, and the shutdown is hurting the industry in a host of other ways as well. Simply put, until government leaders can get the FAA reopened, an essential American industry remains on an indefinite layover," said Ed Bolen, president and CEO of NBAA.


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