The U.S. Senate cleared a $17.7 billion budget for the FAA in Fiscal Year 2020 as part of an overarching “minibus” multi-agency funding bill. Passed 84-9 late last week, the minibus consolidated four separate appropriations bills, including that for the Department of Transportation. However, this and other funding bills must be reconciled with House bills. With the government operating under a temporary funding measure that is set to expire November 21, the possibility of another stopgap funding bill might be necessary to provide time for the two chambers to hash out the differences in their respective funding bills.
The Senate would provide a slight boost funding for the FAA, which has a $17.5 billion budget in the current fiscal year. The bill would fully fund the contract tower program and calls on the FAA to respond to key reports on its certification activities. Also, lawmakers are calling on the FAA to finalize rulemaking regarding safety management systems for manufacturers.
In addition, the bill carries over a couple of key measures that have been included in previous appropriations bills, including a continuation of the weight limitations on Teterboro Airport in New Jersey, as well as call for the continuation of efforts to honor requests of business aircraft operators to keep their registration numbers private from flight-tracking programs.