The House has approved another short-term FAA bill — the 20th since the last FAA reauthorization bill expired more than three years ago. The new stopgap measure will give lawmakers until July 22 to complete action on a multi-year FAA reauthorization bill.
The Senate is expected to pass the short-term measure before the current extension expires this week.
H.R.2279, the Airport and Airway Extension Act of 2011, Part III, coupled with previous extensions, would provide a total of $2.8 billion in AIP contract authority for almost 10 months of fiscal year 2011, which began Oct. 1, 2010. The bill also includes a AAAE-backed provision that would extend the 95 percent federal share for AIP projects at small airports.
Congressional staffers had been meeting regularly in recent weeks in an effort to work out the differences between the House- and Senate-passed FAA bills. However, progress stalled over disagreements about funding levels, the Essential Air Service program and a House-passed provision that would overturn a National Mediation Board ruling that makes it easier for aviation workers to organize.
Lawmakers likely will attempt to resolve their differences on these and other outstanding issues in the next few weeks. However, the three-week extension will not provide much negotiating time since the House is out of session July 18-22. Both chambers only will be in session at the same time during one week in the next three weeks.