House pushes back must-pass aviation bill to September

House pushes back must-pass aviation bill to September
© Greg Nash

House action on a must-past aviation bill will be pushed back to September, Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) confirmed to The Hill on Thursday.

With lawmakers only scheduled to be in town for one more day, it seemed likely that the timeline for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization bill would slip until after the August recess.

But supporters of the plan had hoped they could whip up enough support to get a floor vote this week, which would give them more time in September to negotiate a final product with the Senate.

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The House version contains a contentious proposal to separate air traffic control from the federal government — a longtime goal of Shuster’s that picked up support from President Trump this year. Some Republicans who oppose the idea, however, are lobbying their colleagues to vote against it.

Shuster, chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, admitted he was disappointed that the legislation will have to wait until September.

But he noted that momentum has been building over recent weeks, including newfound support from Heritage Action and former Clinton administration officials.

“I wanted to pass it now, but we’ve got a lot of people moving in the right direction, and so I feel pretty good about where we’re going to be in September,” Shuster said.

“If we had another week here, I think we’d have it on the floor next week. It’s just one of those things where it takes time for members to engage and understand.”

Waiting until September could be risky, however. The FAA’s legal authority expires at the end of that month, and the Senate’s proposal — which has not been considered on the floor either — doesn’t contain the air traffic spinoff plan.