Congress is expected next week to consider a six-month FAA bill that would extend the Airport Improvement Program and aviation excise taxes through March 31, 2018. Congress needs to send another temporary extension to the President's desk before the end of next week to avoid a partial shutdown of the FAA.
House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) was reportedly considering shorter options, including proposals to extend aviation programs and taxes for one month and another to keep the FAA operating for five months.
But airports and other lawmakers pushed back, in part, because a one- or five-month extension would have prevented the FAA from beginning to distribute AIP grants in the new fiscal year. The FAA has long maintained that it needs at least six months of funding before it can begin distributing AIP grants.
A six-month bill would allow the FAA to begin distributing a partial year's worth of AIP funding. The short-term FAA extension includes a handful of non-aviation items including provisions that would extend various health programs and a section on private flood insurance. These provisions are not expected to be controversial.
The House is expected to pass the new extension next Monday or Tuesday, and the Senate is expected to clear it before the current stopgap measure expires on September 30. Another short-term FAA extension will give lawmakers more time to work on a comprehensive FAA reauthorization bill. That legislation has been held up over Shuster's controversial proposal to corporatize the Air Traffic Control system.
A full summary of the FAA bill is available to AAAE Federal Affairs members here.