It took less than one minute for the U.S. Senate to pass legislation this morning by unanimous consent temporarily restoring full funding to the Federal Aviation Administration. The agreement marks the 21st short-term funding extension for the FAA, and the action allows 4,000 furloughed federal employees to return to their jobs.
A bipartisan compromise was reached Thursday, Aug. 4, carving a path for the Senate to approve a House bill that extends the FAA’s operating authority through mid-September. It also includes a provision eliminating $16.5 million in air service subsidies to 13 rural communities. The legislation also forces Congress to revisit the issue within six weeks to avoid another lapse in funding.
Since authorization for FAA funding expired July 23, several “stop work orders” were issued for major projects designed to build and modernize control towers and other aviation infrastructure throughout the U.S., affecting many of the NextGen projects that are critical to the AEA’s membership. During the authorization lapse, the FAA was not able to collect federal taxes on airline tickets to the tune of approximately $30 million a day.Today’s action is another short-term solution. AEA members are encouraged to contact members of Congress and urge them to adopt a long-term solution rather than resorting to another continuing resolution later this year.