Senate Readying To Move on FAA Bill

Senate leaders have been working through potential amendments to clear the way to bring the comprehensive Federal Aviation Administration bill to floor. Senior lawmakers discussed a tight window—possibly just a few days—for debate on the bill and have said that they may be willing to bring it up with short notice. Senate leaders are now eying the week of July 30 as a possible time frame, with the hopes of getting it done before the Senate breaks for a truncated August recess.

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The discussions give new hope that the chamber may now move on the bill; aviation organizations were beginning to fear that the FAA may be poised for another extension of its authorization with a number of obstacles facing passage of a long-term bill. These include election-year politics that provide little incentive for passage of major bills, as well as many other Senate priorities, such as the Supreme Court nomination.

But Senate Commerce Committee chairman John Thune (R-South Dakota) has remained optimistic about the possibility for action, and Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Florida) told Washington insider publication Politico that as long as “we don’t have people trying to attach controversial amendments to it, we should be able to get it through because the basic FAA bill is now all agreed to.”