GOP chairman: Trump infrastructure package could be rolled into aviation bill

GOP chairman: Trump infrastructure package could be rolled into aviation bill
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A House GOP committee chairman said that President Trump’s $1 trillion infrastructure plan — which is competing with a host of other GOP priorities this year — could be rolled into a must-pass aviation bill later this fall. 

Lawmakers are preparing to assemble legislation to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), whose legal authority expires at the end of September.

Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), who chairs the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said that the FAA measure could be a legislative vehicle that attracts other interests, especially because the bill includes a revenue component.  

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Shuster predicted that Trump’s promised rebuilding package to fix U.S. roads, bridges and airports could even be folded into the measure. Trump has also called for spinning off air traffic control from the federal government, which could land in the FAA reauthorization bill.

Last year, Democrats unsuccessfully tried to attach energy tax riders to the FAA legislation.

“It’s a must-pass bill. It’s one of those bills that who knows who’s going to hitch a ride on it,” Shuster said at an infrastructure event hosted by Axios on Tuesday. “There’s a revenue piece to it, so it will be very be popular.”

“It may turn into the infrastructure bill,” he added.

Infrastructure investment was one of Trump’s chief campaign promises, but fiscal conservatives have been reluctant to back massive spending on transportation. Trump had to personally ask House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanTrump says Democrats are handing out subpoenas 'like they're cookies' The unexpected shadow of 1994, 25 years later Addressing climate change is a win for Republicans — why not embrace it? MORE (R-Wis.) to add it to the GOP agenda.

Infrastructure has taken a back seat in Congress to repealing and replacing ObamaCare and overhauling the tax code.

Axios reported that Republican leaders and the White House are considering pushing back consideration of a bill until next year in order to give lawmakers more breathing room to address other issues this year.

Shuster said he still is hoping to begin work on the package this fall but acknowledged that the timing could slip.

“You know how it works around here; things slip,” he said. “It also depends on what happens with the healthcare on Thursday and what happens in the Senate.”