House to vote on short-term aviation bill with flood provisions

House to vote on short-term aviation bill with flood provisions
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The House will vote on a short-term aviation bill next week that includes bipartisan language to increase the options for private flood insurance.

The measure, which is needed to keep the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) running, would reauthorize the agency for six months. The FAA’s current legal authority expires next Saturday.

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The must-pass piece of legislation, unveiled Friday, includes language to encourage the creation of private flood insurance markets in an effort to provide homeowners with more and cheaper coverage options. It also would provide tax relief for hurricane victims.

The flood and tax provisions come as recovery and relief efforts are still underway in Texas and Florida following the devastating damage from floodwaters from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

The FAA bill also would extend several public health programs that are set to expire, including one supporting health centers teaching graduate medical education.

The short-term extension was needed because lawmakers were unable to come up with an agreement on a longer bill to reauthorize the FAA.

Democrats and Senate GOP leaders have both signaled that they would prefer a six-month bill if they have to enact a patch, raising the House bill’s chances for passage.

But some House Republicans have vowed to oppose the extension because they don’t want to give GOP leadership more time to whip up support for the House’s long-term reauthorization, which includes a controversial proposal to separate air traffic control from the federal government.

“Why hand them the time so they can use it as a club to beat you over the head?” Rep. Steve Russell (R-Okla.) said in a telephone interview with The Hill. “Most of the folks that are opposing the bill, the hardcore 'no's,' will also be opposing the extension.”

--This story was updated at 5:45 p.m.