House passes extension of FAA funding through Feb. 17

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Mica and other Republican leaders, who have argued for months that the FAA's run of short-term extensions has gone on too long, have said the latest extension that was approved Tuesday was necessary for lawmakers to finalize a deal reached last week on a multi-year measure. 

The House and Senate reached an agreement on labor election rules for transportation workers that held up a longer-term funding bill for the FAA for the better part of a year.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle said Tuesday that while there are other issues remaining that need to be resolved on the long-term bill, they are confident that the agreement on the labor provision would clear the runway for the multi-year FAA bill.

"I rise in favor of doing something I'm usually not in favor in, and that's kick the can down the road," Texas Rep. Blake Farenthold (R) said before the vote. "This time as we kick the can down the road, we actually see the end of the road."
 
The chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee's Aviation subcommittee, Rep. Tom Petri (R-Wis.), similarly called the extension of FAA funding through Feb. 17 a "prudent precaution."

Republican leaders in the House have said the GOP hopes to complete work on the long-term FAA bill before the mid-February expiration of the short-term FAA bill. They have said the compromise bill would fund the FAA for four years.