House Dems to oppose FAA extension package
© Greg Nash

House Democratic leaders are urging their rank-and-file to oppose fast-track approval of a package to extend the authorization for the Federal Aviation Administration and provide tax breaks for hurricane victims, making it likely a Monday vote on the package will fail.

The House is scheduled to consider a six-month extension for aviation programs with attached provisions to offer tax relief for people recovering from recent hurricanes, renew certain expiring health-care programs and encourage flood insurance reform.

Despite supporting reauthorization for the FAA, Democrats said that the package was crafted without their input.

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“While many of us could support these proposals as part of an overall package that is balanced, we should not acquiesce in this one-sided process that omits Democratic priorities key to advancing the work of making opportunity more broadly available to the American people,” House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and ranking Democrats on the House Transportation, Energy and Commerce, Ways and Means, and Financial Services committees wrote in a letter to fellow Democrats on Monday.

The measure is being considered under a fast-track procedure, known as suspension of the rules, that requires a two-thirds majority for passage. An absence of Democratic support means it is likely to fail on the House floor later Monday.

A failure to pass under suspension of the rules means House GOP leaders would likely bring it up again later in the week under a process requiring only a simple majority.

Hoyer and committee leaders noted in the letter that they also wanted to offer the DREAM Act to let young undocumented immigrants stay in the U.S. as an amendment to the FAA package as Republicans added the unrelated provisions for hurricane tax relief, flood insurance and health programs.

“America’s patriotic young Dreamers must have swift action on the bipartisan DREAM Act. In addition, we face urgent deadlines for Community Health Centers, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program and issues that relate to affordable flood insurance,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a statement.

“Instead of acting on these priorities, House Republicans are advancing a sprawling FAA extension package laden with completely unrelated and inadequate items.”

Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanDem: Ex-lawmaker tried to pin me to elevator door and kiss me Two months later: Puerto Rico doesn’t have power, education or economy running again On Capitol Hill, few name names on sexual harassment MORE (R-Wis.) blasted Democrats for opposing the FAA and hurricane tax relief package. He emphasized that establishing a legislative fix for young undocumented immigrants should be dealt with separately.

“It is a sad day when House Democrats will — in the name of politics — vote against disaster relief and air traffic safety measures,” Ryan said in a statement. “It’s shameful that politics will trump meaningful relief for families suffering from these devastating hurricanes. House Democrats are willing to shut down air traffic control to make a political point.”

Another provision of the bill would encourage the creation of private flood insurance markets to provide consumers with more coverage options.

Democrats said it “does nothing to address stability of the [National Flood Insurance Program] either by increasing its borrowing authority, extending its reauthorization, or addressing affordability.”

The health programs extended in the legislation assist health centers with graduate medical education programs and provide care to people with severe immunodeficiency diseases.

But it does not include a reauthorization for another program expiring at the end of September: the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which provides health care for about nine million low- and middle-income children.

The Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission projected in July that most states won’t run out of funds until early 2018, although three states and the District of Columbia could run out by December.

— Melanie Zanona contributed.