By Keith Laing - 05/13/11 09:46 PM EDT
Aviation Subcommittee Chairman Tom Petri (R-Wis.) agreed.
"Introduction of this extension is simply a prudent precaution while we continue work to approve an urgently needed full FAA reauthorization," Petri said. "This doesn’t change the fact that we need a reauthorization of the FAA to get through Congress if we are to continue making progress in modernizing our system and utilizing new technologies.”
Longer-term bills have passed both the House and Senate, but inter-chamber negotiations have been consumed by a labor provision that overwhelmed debate on the underlying bill - and drew a veto threat from President Obama.
At issue are rules adopted last year by the National Mediation Board that make it easier for workers to unionize.
Under the NMB’s rules, only votes in favor of or against forming a union count in an election — previously, employees who did not vote in a union election were counted as votes against forming a union. That created a much bigger hurdle for workers to organize.
The House version of the bill, which Obama opposes, would undo those rules.
Other difference between to the chamber's bills include the fact that the Senate only funds the FAA for the next two years. The Senate measure would appropriate $34.5 billion to the FAA. The four-year House measure would provide $59 billion over four years.
The House is not session next week, so the earliest the short term FAA bill could be voted on is May 23.