Law to Fund the FAA During Future Shutdowns Proposed in Congress
The recent government shutdown — the longest in US history — had widespread repercussions for the aviation industry. It would also seem that the aviation industry played a key role in getting the government reopened, at least temporarily.
In an effort to avoid some of those repercussions like route delays, aircraft certifications and keeping ATCs on the job, a bill introduced into the US House of Representatives would see the FAA fully funded during any future government shutdown. The bill was introduced by Peter DeFazio, a Democrat from Oregon, who is the chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. Rep. DeFazio introduced a similar amendment on bill HR 4441 in February of 2016, which never got past the committee
The law would fund the FAA during shutdowns using the Airport and Airway Trust Fund. The fund is the recipient of taxes paid on airline tickets, jet fuel and cargo. Rick Larsen, the chairman of the subcommittee for aviation, co-sponsored the bill. Larsen says the bill would "ensure essential personnel who work under immensely stressful situations continue to get paid, and that the largest, busiest and most complex airspace system in the world remains safe for passengers and employees,"
This bill would only fund the FAA. TSA, which is a part of Homeland Security, would still be forced to work without pay during a government shutdown.
And while averting another shutdown-related FAA crisis would be great, don't bet on this being signed into law anytime soon. According to Bloomberg Government, "newly empowered Democrats on the appropriations committee may be less inclined to cede their power over the nation’s airspace in their spending negotiations." Coupled with the possibility of another shutdown only days away, it's doubtful this legislation would be passed before the Feb. 15 deadline.
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