GOP lawmaker casts doubt on long-term FAA reauthorization

The chairman of the House Transportation Committee on Tuesday cast doubt on Congress’s ability to move long-term funding legislation for the Federal Aviation Administration.

Chairman John Mica (R-Fla.) said conservative Republicans, particularly the freshman class of 2010, have little interest in providing more funds for the FAA.

“The crowd that came [in 2010] is not interested in spending more money,” Mica said Tuesday at the Transportation Construction Coalition's 10th annual Washington fly-in. “This is a slash, crash and burn crew, if you haven't noticed.”

The House on Monday passed a bill to fund the FAA at current levels through the end of June, just before legislation funding the agency is set to expire next week. If the Senate approves the bill that funds the FAA through June, it will be the 19th short-term appropriation measure for the beleaguered agency.

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If the short-term bill is not passed by the Senate and signed by President Obama, the FAA will run out of money May 31.

Mica said the frequent extensions did not mean lawmakers were any closer to do a deal.

“I haven't been on the job that long and I inherited kind of a mess,” Mica said. “We're trying to sort it out a little bit at a time.

“We're trying to do in four or five months what (Democrats) couldn't do in four years,” he said.

The House and Senate have both passed bills to fund the FAA for the long term, but the House provided less funding per year than the Senate. The Senate measure provided $34.5 billion over two years, while the House provided $59 billion over four years.

The House measure also includes provisions that would make it harder for airline and railroad employees to unionize that have drawn a veto threat from Obama.