After two weeks of debate, the Senate is hoping to wrap up work on the comprehensive FAA reauthorization bill shortly. The Senate has scheduled a vote this evening to cut off debate on the bill, preventing a filibuster and clearing a path for vote on final passage.
The FAA reauthorization bill has wide support in the Senate, but has been eyed as a venue for a number of other measures, such as energy tax breaks. In all, more than 330 amendments were filed for possible consideration, slowing progress on the bill. Also, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) has threated a possible filibuster on a measure involving rest requirements for cargo pilots. In addition to averting the filibuster potential, the cloture vote would end consideration of the amendments.
So far 19 amendments have been accepted. A number of those involve unmanned aircraft systems' safety and use, as well as airport security requirements. Another two dozen are expected to come up for consideration today under one umbrella amendment before the cloture vote.
Commerce Committee chairman John Thune (R-S.D.) last week urged support for the cloture vote. “After two weeks of consideration, it is now time to conclude our work on the bipartisan legislation,” he said. Thune called the process of developing the bill "constructive," and while he wished that the Senate could add more amendments, he said, “In the end, we need to pass this.”