The Senate may consider the long-delayed FAA reauthorization bill as early as this week, following the Jan. 27 introduction of legislation by Sen. John Rockefeller (D-W.Va.).
Rockefeller, chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, introduced S.223, a bill that is similar to the FAA legislation that the Senate passed early last year.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) asked for unanimous consent for the bill to be placed on the Senate calendar — a procedural move that will allow the Senate to consider the measure. After offering the motion, Reid stated, "We have been trying to do this bill for years. I hope with what took place today, we can move to this bill and have a good debate on an extremely important piece of legislation. The vast majority of the Senate wants this to get done, Democrats and Republicans."
Reid said the measure "will greatly aid the nation and the traveling public. This is such an important bill. We throw the words around 'jobs bill.' This is a jobs bill. At the minimum, this bill will create more than 100,000 jobs. It will do it by investing in airport infrastructure and improving aviation technology in every state in the nation."
Reid said he has discussed the legislation with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), adding, "This is the time for a good, old-fashioned Senate debate, something that will help the American people. Then we will send it to the House, and I think they will be able to finish it fairly quickly."
AAAE has been urging Congress to pass an FAA reauthorization bill that raises or lifts the cap on PFCs, protects AIP funding, and rejects a proposal that could force airports to comply with National Fire Protection Association standards that many airports consider to be excessive.