GOP chair: House to vote on air traffic control overhaul next month

GOP chair: House to vote on air traffic control overhaul next month
© Greg Nash

The House will vote on a President Trump-backed plan to separate air traffic control from the federal government in early October, according to the head of the House Transportation panel.

Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, told The Hill on Wednesday that lawmakers will first need to clear a short-term extension of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

The controversial spinoff proposal was included in the House version of long-term legislation to reauthorize the FAA, whose legal authority expires at the end of September.

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“We’re doing an extension when we come back… and then the first couple weeks of October, [the spinoff plan] is going to be on the floor,” Shuster said.

The Pennsylvania Republican, who has been one of the chief congressional proponents of the privatization push, said lawmakers are still deciding how long the short-term patch will be.

“Still working on that,” he said. “It will probably get through the end of the year, to give us some time.”

A similar effort to transfer the country’s air navigation system to a nonprofit corporation never made it to the House floor last year. This year's proposal has also struggled to attract votes in the lower chamber, despite Trump’s endorsement.

But Shuster assured The Hill that they were now “close enough that we’re going to be on the floor” next month. He pointed out that three Democrats have signed onto the bill.

Across the Capitol, the Senate declined to include the idea in its own version of an FAA reauthorization. That bill has also remained stalled, but over other sticking points that have yet to be resolved.