The U.S. House of Representatives brought the six-month FAA extension bill back to the floor for a vote today, and this time the measure passed by a vote of 264-155. A previous attempt to pass the bill under fast-track suspension rules failed earlier this week amid Democratic protests over a range of issues, including health care, DREAMers, flood insurance and disaster relief.
House leaders added tax relief for hurricane victims to the bill, providing incentive to win over key Democrats. The House yesterday began debate on the bill, which would extend the FAA's authorization through March 31, 2018. House Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pennsylvania) urged passage, saying, “The FAA extension we are considering this week is not a pawn in a Washington game of political brinksmanship."
Shuster warned of consequences should the FAA’s authority lapse at the end of the month, including the stoppage of the collection of aviation taxes, lapse of airport grants and FAA restoration of facilities damaged in the hurricane. “It is time for Congress to ensure the FAA’s authority, funding and disaster recovery efforts continue uninterrupted to help those impacted by the hurricanes and so desperately in need.”
While the House approved the bill, key Democrats expressed concern about the flood insurance provision in the bill. That provision is drawing protests in the Senate, making it likely that the bill will get amended in that chamber and need to return to the House for further consideration.