What to Know in Washington: FAA Package Clears Key Senate Hurdle

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Legislation aimed at boosting aviation safety and alleviating travel woes has cleared its first Senate procedural hurdle — an initial move to set up a path to advance the bill that still faces a bumpy route to passage before the Federal Aviation Administration’s authority expires next week.

The Senate voted 89-10 yesterday afternoon to invoke cloture, or limit debate, on the motion to proceed to the legislation to reauthorize the FAA after committee leaders released bicameral compromise text this week. The two chambers would need to move on the bill before the agency’s current authority and ability to collect taxes expires after May 10.

Photographer: Anna Rose Layden/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) during a Commerce committee hearing in Washington, D.C., in February 2023.

A lapse in the FAA’s authority could delay new technology upgrades, stall airport projects, and complicate hiring, the agency and air travel industry have previously warned. The FAA would be unable to collect revenue if ticket and fuel taxes would expire, losing tens of millions of dollars a day should Congress fail to enact a timely extension.

“Both parties have an incentive to get FAA done as quickly and as smoothly as we can,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) told reporters ahead of Wednesday’s procedural vote.

Senators would likely need unanimous consent to speed up debate on the package so the House would have enough time to clear it before the deadline. Such time agreements usually come in exchange for votes on amendments, giving leverage for lawmakers to demand floor time for their priorities, Lillianna Byington reports. Read More

Senators widely view the FAA package as one of the last pieces of legislation that Congress will pass before the election—and are therefore seizing the opportunity to tack on stalled bipartisan priorities to it—including a bill that aims to protect kids online, Oma Seddiq reports in BGOV’s Tech Brief. Read More

NASA and NOAA would be allowed to work with Taiwan on space endeavors under a new amendment first obtained by Bloomberg Government that Sen. Eric Schmitt (R-Mo.), ranking member on the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Space and Science, plans to file today, Zach C. Cohen reports in BGOV’s Transportation Brief. Read More

Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) is pushing a proposal that would expand the federal government’s counter-drone powers through an amendment to the FAA bill first shared with Bloomberg Government. The effort, if successful, would bolster federal and local officials’ ability to combat drones that encroach on runways, threaten crowds, or conduct illegal surveillance, Ellen M. Gilmer reports. Read More


  • President Joe Biden heads to Charlotte, N.C., where he’ll arrive around 1 p.m. to pay his respects to the law enforcement officers killed and wounded in the line of duty.
  • He’ll head to Wilmington, N.C., where he’ll deliver remarks around 4:30 p.m. on his infrastructure agenda and job creation.
  • Biden will return to the White House around 7:30 p.m.


  • The House is out until Monday.
  • Senators convene at 10 a.m. to resume consideration of the FAA reauthorization bill.
  • For the full detailed agenda, read BGOV’s Congress Tracker

Impact of the War in Gaza

A scene in Rafah on April 30. Photo by AFP via Getty Images

The House passed a bill creating a definition of ANTISEMITISM to be used in enforcing federal anti-discrimination laws, as tensions over Israel’s war in the Gaza Strip erupt on college campuses.

  • The bipartisan legislation would put forward the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism to enforce the decades-old Civil Rights Act that bars programs that get federal funding from discriminating based on race or national origin.
  • The bill passed on a bipartisan vote of 320-91. Supporters say it’s a key step amid concerns of antisemitism at pro-Palestinian protests. It was opposed by an unlikely coalition of progressive Democrats and Republican free speech hawks. Read More

Tensions High on UCLA Campus as Protesters Ordered to Disperse

Lines of police kept close watch at the University of California at Los Angeles as tensions remained high after violence erupted the previous night between pro-Palestinian protesters and counter protesters.

Also Happening on the Hill

The Capitol building on April 30. Photo by Kent Nishimura/Getty Images

Real estate and manufacturing industries are revving up LOBBYING on Capitol Hill to protect a prized tax break for pass-through business income that’s on track to expire at the end of next year.

  • The provision is one of several expiring tax cuts from the 2017 tax law. For those benefiting—individuals, trusts, estates, real estate investment trusts, and publicly traded partnerships—it is a big priority to keep the deduction.
  • The players hope to protect their 2017 winnings have embarked to persuade new lawmakers on the Hill on why they should keep the tax break. Hurdles include an unclear path forward if Democrats win big in November. Read More

Some Senate Democrats Ask Biden to Hike China Tariffs: Politico

Several Senate Democrats, including Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, urge the Biden administration to raise tariffs on China, Politicoreports, citing a letter to President Biden and US Trade Representative Katherine Tai.

GOP’s Comer Probes FTC on Amazon’s Abandoned iRobot Deal

House Oversight Chair James Comer is investigating the Federal Trade Commission’s work with the European Commission related to Amazon’s decision to abandon a deal to acquire Roomba maker iRobot, Reuters reports, citing a letter sent by Comer to the FTC.

House Labor Panel Threatens Subpoena Over DOL Return-to-Office

Acting Labor Secretary Julie Su is facing a subpoena if the US Labor Department doesn’t provide its return-to-office plan to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce by May 6.

Republicans Accuse DOJ of Overlooking Bias Against US Workers

The Department of Justice unit charged with investigating immigration-related employment bias has devoted a disproportionate share of resources to protecting immigrant workers, a group of Republican senators said in a letter to the agency.

People, Power, and Politics

Mike Braun in Washington on Feb. 9. Photo by Al Drago/Bloomberg

Sen. MIKE BRAUN is campaigning as though his experience in the federal government might not be what Republican voters in Indiana are looking for in their next governor.

  • Braun’s campaign dubs the one-term senator as “the ultimate outsider in Indiana politics” after “37 years building a Main Street business into a national company.” He’s among six hopefuls in the GOP primary on May 7.
  • Braun, who led the equipment manufacturer Meyer before serving in the Indiana House, has the advantage of the party’s biggest-name backer. “I’m proudly endorsed by President Trump,” he says in a commercial. Read More

Biden Calls Ally Japan ‘Xenophobic’ Along With China, Russia

President Joe Biden included ally Japan along with rivals China and Russia in a list of countries he called “xenophobic” in a speech at a campaign fundraising event in Washington.

Billionaires Lutnick, Paulson to Host Fundraiser for Trump in NY

Billionaires Howard Lutnick, John Paulson and Woody Johnson are among the wealthy donors hosting a Manhattan fundraiser for Donald Trump later this month as the presumptive Republican nominee looks to build his 2024 war chest while a criminal trial limits his campaigning.

Red State Bills Resisting UAW Growth Risk Labor Law Override

A United Auto Workers organizing campaign at southern plants including Volkswagen AG, Hyundai Motor Co., and Mercedes-Benz has reinvigorated union resistance from Republican state lawmakers and inspired secret-ballot-election bills that set up a clash with federal labor law.

Arizona Senate Votes to Repeal State Abortion Ban From 1864

The Arizona Senate voted 16-14 to repeal an 1864 law that would make nearly all abortions a crime, preserving access to the procedure after the state’s Supreme court revived the Civil War-era law in early April.

What Else We’re Reading

FTC’s Noncompete Rule Puts Nonprofit Hospitals Under Microscope

A new federal rule that bans the use of worker noncompete agreements in health care has focused attention on the nonprofit health sector, and its near-blanket exemption from the terms of the new regulation.

Powell Says It Will Take Longer to Gain Confidence on Inflation

It will probably take longer than previously expected for the Federal Reserve to gain enough confidence about the inflation trajectory to start cutting interest rates, Chair Jerome Powell said.

Fifth Circuit Weighs Health Groups’ Standing in Drug Price Plan

The Fifth Circuit weighed in Wednesday on the procedural process for Medicare reimbursements and whether participation is voluntary in President Joe Biden’s government drug price-setting program.

Huawei Secretly Backs US Research, Awarding Millions in Prizes

Huawei Technologies Co., the Chinese telecommunications giant blacklisted by the US, is secretly funding cutting-edge research at American universities including Harvard through an independent Washington-based foundation.

To contact the reporters on this story: Brandon Lee in Washington at blee@bgov.com; Jeannie Baumann in Washington at jbaumann@bloombergindustry.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Kayla Sharpe at ksharpe@bloombergindustry.com; Giuseppe Macri at gmacri@bgov.com

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