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.

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Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneGOP faces internal conflicts on fifth coronavirus bill On The Money: Jobless rate exceeds 20 percent in three states | Senate goes on break without passing small business loan fix | Biden pledges to not raise taxes on those making under 0K Senate leaves for break without passing Paycheck Protection Program fix 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 ReidNevada congressman admits to affair after relationship divulged on podcast Overnight Energy: 600K clean energy jobs lost during pandemic, report finds | Democrats target diseases spread by wildlife | Energy Dept. to buy 1M barrels of oil 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.”