Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.), chairman of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, met with Congressional leaders on Tuesday, Nov. 15, to discuss moving a long-term funding bill for the Federal Aviation Administration through Congress by the end of the year. The FAA is currently operating on a series of 22 short-term extensions since 2007.
According to a statement released by Mica, “I was pleased to meet with Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), Ranking Member Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) and Ranking Member Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.) today to discuss completion of the FAA reauthorization, hopefully by the time Congress concludes its business for the year.”
The statement was released just one day after Rockefeller, chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, said he and Mica would have “almost nothing to say to each other” on the FAA bill.
Congressional bickering has prevented Congress from passing a long-term FAA funding bill since the last one expired in 2007. Republicans have pushed for a long-term bill with a provision that would make it more difficult for airline workers to unionize and are at odds with Democrats over millions of dollars in subsidies to rural airports. Rockefeller told the Washington Aero Club this week that the provision was the result of “a fight between one single airline and organized labor.”
A Mica spokesperson indicated that the lawmakers have asked their staffs to formulate solutions to the outstanding issues by the end of November.
“It’s not difficult,” Rahall said. “Anything that is unresolvable, we will come back and do them ourselves. We are all in this together.”
The AEA encourages its members to contact members of Congress and urge them to pass a long-term FAA bill.