FAA Bill Gets Mired in Dreamer, Health Care Politics

 - September 26, 2017, 7:37 AM

An attempt to pass the six-month extension of the FAA’s authorization and the aviation excise taxes under fast-track procedures failed yesterday as House Democrats push for consideration of protections of the so-called Dreamers and health care priorities.

The extension bill, Disaster Tax Relief and Airport and Airway Extension (H.R.3823), was brought up for consideration yesterday under suspension of the rules, which limits debate and amendments. The procedure, typically used when a bill is non-controversial, requires a two-thirds vote. But the bill captured a 245-171 margin, shy of the requisite two-thirds.

Before the vote, House minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D-California) released a statement saying she would oppose the bill, citing the need for swift action on the DREAM Act and deadlines facing community health centers, the state children’s health insurance program and affordable flood insurance. “Instead of acting on these priorities, House Republicans are advancing a sprawling FAA extension package laden with completely unrelated and inadequate items,” she said.

House leaders are now hoping to bring the bill up later in the week for a vote under regular consideration. This comes as the FAA’s current authorization is set to expire at the end of the month and the House and Senate have been at an impasse on long-term reauthorization legislation.

Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pennsylvania), the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, decried yesterday’s vote, saying, “The safety of our aviation system and the livelihood of thousands of dedicated FAA employees across the country should not be used to score political points by anyone…Shutting down FAA programs and projects, and furloughing FAA employees, is not in the best interest of our aviation system or the American traveling public.”

In addition to a six-month FAA extension, the bill included provisions regarding flood insurance and the extensions of certain health and Medicare programs.