House sends FAA extension to Trump’s desk with hurricane tax relief

Getty Images

The House cleared legislation on Thursday to reauthorize federal aviation programs ahead of a Saturday deadline and provide tax relief for victims of recent hurricanes.

Lawmakers had previously approved a package earlier in the day that included a provision encouraging the creation of private flood insurance markets.

But with opposition mounting in the Senate to the flood insurance measure, senators stripped it out and sent it back to the House to ensure that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) wouldn’t face a shutdown after Saturday.


The Senate passed the revised bill by unanimous consent, with the House following suit without objection about an hour later.

Most House members departed Washington for the week immediately following the first vote Thursday morning. With time and options running out, senators opted to remove the flood insurance provision instead of risk missing the deadline to renew aviation programs.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers had pushed to nix the flood insurance language, led by Republican Sens. Bill Cassidy (La.), Mike Rounds (S.D.) and John Kennedy (La.).

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) was overheard by a Politico reporter in an elevator this week pushing Kennedy to oppose the flood insurance measure.

Kennedy and Cassidy issued a statement hours later expressing opposition to the provision.

“The decision to include this flood insurance measure on the FAA reauthorization bill, and not as part of comprehensive flood insurance reform, is greatly concerning,” they said.

Other provisions in the package grant tax relief to people affected by recent hurricanes. Disaster victims will now be allowed to take money out of their retirement funds without paying early-withdrawal penalties.

The package will also provide a tax credit for 40 percent of wages paid by an employer affected by a storm to workers from core disaster areas. In addition, the bill temporarily suspends limits on the tax deduction for charitable contributions associated with hurricane relief made before the end of this year.

“Congress has shown it is committed to providing the resources necessary to help these communities recover and rebuild. We will keep this commitment moving forward,” House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said in a statement.

Some lawmakers representing states affected by other natural disasters in recent years emphasized that they support aid for victims of recent hurricanes, but lamented that their constituents didn’t see federal help as quickly.

“Hurricane Sandy victims have been waiting five years for this tax relief, yet they are excluded. In the case of Louisiana’s 1000-year flood last year, our constituents have been waiting nearly 14 months for the exact same tax relief being granted to flood victims, but similarly are excluded,” Rep. Garret Graves (R-La.) wrote in a letter to colleagues urging them to oppose the version approved by the House on Thursday morning.

Tags Bill Cassidy Charles Schumer John Kennedy Mike Rounds

Most Popular

Load more


See all Video