Taxiing To Take-Off? 23rd FAA Extension Signed into Law
Extension Follows Deal Clearing the Path toward Final Passage of FAA Reauthorization
On Jan. 31, President Obama signed into law the 23rd extension FAA operating authority (H.R. 3800).
H.R. 3800 is a clean extension of FAA authority through Feb. 17, and is necessary to buy lawmakers additional time to iron out the differences between House and Senate passed FAA legislation (H.R. 658, S. 223). Lawmakers from both sides of the isle in both chambers have expressed optimism that this will be the final extension. It has been more than three years since the last long-term aviation bill, VISION-100, expired.
The 23rd extension follows an agreement between House and Senate leadership resolving a labor dispute over the way that National Mediation Board (NMB) counts votes in union elections. The NMB measure allows the majority of workers voting, rather than all workers, to decide a unionization drive. House Republicans agreed to drop their insistence on keeping the measure in exchange for requiring the NMB to hold public hearings on new rules and raising the threshold of workers required to petition for an election from 35 percent to 50 percent.
Word from the Hill is that with the NMB issue resolved, members of the House and Senate Aviation Committees should be able to settle the few remaining differences in a matter of days.
“ARSA is pleased that lawmakers are finally focusing on the future of the FAA. Twenty-three extensions are twenty-three too many. Since 2007, the Association has been pushing Congress for an FAA bill that will allow the aviation industry, and particularly the maintenance industry, to thrive. We are glad to see that Congress may have finally gotten the message,” said ARSA Executive Director Sarah MacLeod.
While final passage the FAA bill appears close at hand, a compromise version of the legislation has yet to be introduced. Until such time, it is unknown what the legislation will hold for repair stations or what will become of the ARSA-endorsed House repair station language.
It is therefore critical that repair station owners and employees reach out to their lawmakers and remind them of the vital role repair stations play in ensuring the safety and reliability of our nation’s air transportation. A final FAA bill must protect the 274,000 workers employed by the industry, while also allowing the industry the opportunity to prosper in a global market place.
The situation is still fluid. Please visit ARSAAction.org and urge your senators to cede to the House repair station language in FAA conference negotiations.
~~~ posted 2/1/12 ~~~