Senate working to expedite short-term FAA bill

Senate working to expedite short-term FAA bill

The Senate is working to expedite consideration of a 14-month extension of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), with committee leaders expecting a unanimous consent agreement to be reached as early as Wednesday.


Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThunePressure builds for coronavirus relief with no clear path to deal McConnell offering new coronavirus relief bill after talks with Mnuchin, Meadows Murkowski: Trump should concede White House race MORE (R-S.D.), chairman of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, told reporters Tuesday that the short-term FAA bill is currently being “hotlined” in the upper chamber.

If no senators object to the legislation — which passed the House by voice vote on Monday — the Senate could send the measure to the president’s desk by Wednesday.

“I’m hoping we can move it quickly. I think we’re in a good place,” Thune said. “It could happen tomorrow.”

But committee leaders have little room for error; the FAA’s current legal authority expires Friday.

Although the bill contains a number of permanent policy add-ons — including numerous amendments that were attached to a Senate version of the bill earlier this year — some lawmakers may be disappointed that many provisions were still left out.

“There are people who had provisions in there in the Senate-passed bill that didn’t end up in this final package, so not everyone is entirely happy about it,” Thune said. “But I think we did the best we could under the circumstances.”

Thune pointed out that even though the Senate passed a 400-page bill, the House was essentially pushing for a clean extension, so it’s significant that they ended up with a 130-page bill containing provisions on aviation security, drones and consumer protections.

“Obviously there was a lot of stuff left on the cutting room floor, but we think we preserved a lot of the really essential elements, particularly those related to security,” he said.

Senate Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidFeinstein departure from top post sets stage for Judiciary fight Whitehouse says Democratic caucus will decide future of Judiciary Committee Bottom line MORE (D-Nev.) blasted Republicans for breaking a promise to include renewable energy tax extenders on the short-term FAA patch. Democrats say the credits were accidently left out of a major tax package last year.

But Reid stopped short of saying he would object to the overall legislation because of it.

“Republicans are long overdue on keeping their personal commitments to correct this error,” Reid said in a statement last week. “Republican leadership should follow through on their original promise without expecting Democrats to cave in to their unrelated, partisan demands.”