Lawmakers have generally been receptive to the idea — until talk turns to how to pay for it. In the series of continuing resolutions approved this spring as Congress worked to avert a government shutdown, they cut about $200 million from the FAA's budget that would have gone to the conversion.
The FAA's NextGen plans call for airlines to spend about an additional $20 billion to upgrade their airplanes' computer systems.
Until recently, the FAA's operational funding had been in doubt. An impasse this summer in Congress caused by lawmakers not being able to reach an agreement on a short-term funding bill led to the agency being partially shut down for nearly two weeks. This month, another short-term extension was not passed until the day before what would have been a second shutdown.
Elsewhere this week, the House Subcommittee on the Coast Guard will look at its acquisition program Tuesday.
Also, Chicago Mayor and former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel will meet with airline executives Monday to try to maintain the city's prominence within the national transportation industry.