The U.S. Senate has begun circulating an initial block of nearly four-dozen amendments expected to be offered as a package to the comprehensive FAA reauthorization bill, signaling that the chamber is progressing toward a possible vote on the legislation. Senate Republican and Democrat leaders met in recent weeks to discuss potential amendments, and the ranking Democrat on the Senate Commerce Committee, Sen. Bill Nelson (Florida), told the Washington insider publication Politico that at as long as “we don’t have people trying to attach controversial amendments to it, we should be able to get it through because the basic FAA bill is now all agreed to.”
Timing of when it may come up for a vote is less clear, with initial hopes that it may reach the Senate floor this week. However, now it might get pushed to next week, if leadership brings it up. Amendments cover a range of issues, including workforce development; airport funding, equipage and specifications; and operations, security, and air traffic management of unmanned aircraft.
Of note for the on-demand community is an amendment offered to create an aviation rulemaking committee on pilot rest and duty rules for Part 135 carriers. Another amendment would call for the Government Accountability Office to review the implementation the new Part 23 certification standards for small general aviation airplanes. Other measures would make changes to the FAA Task Force on Flight Standards Reform, increase helicopter fuel system safety, and facilitate approvals of unleaded aviation gasoline.
The first block did not include any amendments regarding easing regulations to facilitate ride sharing, but Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) is believed to be continuing to push that issue.