The U.S. Senate today was expected to vote on a stopgap measure to avert a government shutdown as the current funding is set to expire at the end of the day. This continuing resolution (CR) would fund the government at current levels through December 3.
Karen Mineau Huggard, who recently joined the National Air Transportation Association (NATA) as managing director of legislative affairs and industry relations, noted that CRs are commonly used while lawmakers hash out final appropriations deals. The House, which previously had passed its own version of a CR, is anticipated to fast-track the Senate version once it is approved.
However, Mineau Huggard cautions that “In the unlikely event that these efforts fail” and a shutdown occurs, it could lead to delays in FAA operations and hamper aviation businesses.
While this is ongoing, other high-level, complex negotiations have been taking place regarding the bipartisan $1 trillion infrastructure, as well as the $3.5 trillion broader budget reconciliation act. The House had hoped to today pass the infrastructure bill, which includes up to $2.5 billion in general aviation airport funding, but its fate was less clear since some lawmakers are insisting that the large reconciliation act passes alongside it.
The infrastructure bill has already passed the Senate, but there is less certainty of passage of the reconciliation package in its current form. “Weeks of work remain in both the House and Senate on that massive legislative vehicle,” Mineau Huggard added.
Aviation interests are watching both bills, not only for the airport funding but also for a measure in budget reconciliation that would implement a sustainable aviation fuel blenders tax credit.