Senate Leaders Working to Limit FAA Floor Time, Amendments

June 6, 2018 Shaun Courtney
  • Aviation bill among summer priorities, McConnell says
  • Congress faces Sept. 30 deadline to renew agency authorization

Senators are negotiating a bipartisan agreement limiting floor amendments to a Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill as a way to secure floor time during the busy summer work session, leaders of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee said.

The FAA bill (S. 1405), in addition to renewing federal aviation programs, seeks to integrate drones into the airspace and includes language protecting airline passengers, among other items.

“If we can get some sort of an agreement on a path forward that would include a certain number of amendments, it could be considered and voted on on the floor,” Committee Chairman John Thune(R-S.D.), whose committee approved the bill by voice vote last year, told Bloomberg Government today.

The agency’s current authorization runs out Sept. 30 and the House on April 27 passed its renewal legislation (H.R. 4) by 393 to 13.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell(R-Ky.). included the FAA bill among his priorities for the summer. The bill would hit the floor after legislation authorizing defense programs and a farm bill, both of which would come before the July 4 holiday recess, McConnell said during a weekly press conference.

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Limiting Amendments

The Commerce panel’s ranking member, Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), and other Democrats met in Minority Leader Chuck Schumer‘s (D-N.Y.) office today before the weekly policy luncheon.

“I told him we definitely want the FAA bill and there are other things that we ought to consider putting on it, but that is a discussion for another day,” Nelson told Bloomberg Government.

McConnell told reporters he wants a time limit agreement for aviation and water infrastructure measures.

The majority leader “is trying to do is do his best to ensure this doesn’t end up in a two-week exercise on the floor,” Thune said.

Nelson said he hopes senators can agree to limit the number of amendments so the bill can move quickly.

Thune played down the likelihood that an amendment to the FAA bill’s tax title would include some of the technical corrections needed for the 2017 tax overhaul (Public Law 115-97).

McConnell’s decision to cancel the Senate’s August recess bodes well for the FAA bill, Thune told reporters.

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To contact the reporter on this story: Shaun Courtney in Washington at scourtney@bgov.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jonathan Nicholson at jnicholson@bgov.com; Robin Meszoly at rmeszoly@bgov.com; John R. Kirkland at jkirkland@bgov.com

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