House Transportation Head Sees FAA Bill by July 4

 - May 25, 2010, 11:45 AM

A multiyear FAA reauthorization bill will be on President Obama’s desk by July 4. That was the prediction last week by Rep. James Oberstar (D-Minn.), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. According to GovernmentExecutive.com, congressional aides are meeting informally to reach agreement on some lesser differences between House and Senate versions of FAA bills. But talks have not yet begun on the contentious items, such as a House provision that would make it easier for FedEx workers to unionize. Pro-labor Democrats, led by Oberstar, and UPS contend that FedEx–while initially an airline regulated under the Railroad Labor Act (RLA)–has become more of a trucking company and should be overseen by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). FedEx successfully lobbied for a loophole in the 1996 FAA reauthorization bill that let it alone be classed as an express carrier under the jurisdiction of the RLA, which makes it more difficult for its workers to unionize.