A $1.1 trillion spending plan easily passed the House of Representatives yesterday and is awaiting action by the Senate, expected no later than tomorrow. Congress then departs Washington for a week of vacation anchored by Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday.
The omnibus appropriations bill ensures there will be no government shutdown for the foreseeable future. It designates $7.3 billion to maintain the FAA’s air traffic controller and safety inspector workforces, ensuring no budget-related furloughs. It also recommends funding for two key general aviation priorities: the FAA’s aircraft certification service and the transition to unleaded aviation fuel for piston aircraft.
House Appropriations Committee members expressed concern that “delays in FAA certification of new aircraft and related technologies could negatively affect aviation safety, as well as the economic health and competitiveness of U.S. manufacturers.” The Senate Appropriations Committee report to its original bill expanded upon this, and noted that strengthening a system approach to aviation safety will allow the FAA workforce to conduct its oversight effectively without constraining the growth and innovation of the aviation industry.
“Enabling the FAA’s aircraft certification service to operate in a more streamlined, efficient manner will allow our manufacturers to bring needed safety-enhancing products to the market more quickly and easily,” said GAMA president and CEO Pete Bunce.