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NASAO Reports on AIRR Act: Complete Amendment List and Vote Details

Last week the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee passed H.R. 2997, the the 21st Century Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization Act, by a vote of 32 to 25.

The bill reauthorizes the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for the next six year and removes air traffic control (ATC) from the FAA, creating a new non-profit corporation.

Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO), staunch general aviation (GA) proponent, voted in favor of the bill despite strong opposition on ATC privatization from the GA community. He and Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN) were the lone republican dissenters of the bill in last year’s markup. Rep. Rokita, however, remains opposed to the chairman’s proposal to separate ATC from the FAA.

Over seventy amendments were officially filed with committee, many of which failed on party-line votes or were withdrawn.

Click Here For The Complete Amendment List And Vote Details

Some of the NASAO supported amendments that were accepted are listed below.

Rep. Barletta’s (R-IL) amendment to restore Airport Improvement Program (AIP) funding to the 2011 level of $3.52 billion starting in 2018, and increasing to $3.66 billion in 2019, $3.74 billion in 2020, $3.82 billion in 2021, $3.91billion in 2022, and to $3.99 billion in 2023 passed by voice vote.

Rep. Garamendi (D-CA) had an an amendment adopted by voice vote that adds a new section to Title II of the bill prohibiting the ATC corporation from accepting or receiving any funds from the uncommitted balance of the Airport and Airway Trust Fund (AATF). We have been adamant all along that any reform to ATC should not result in the drawdown of the AATF, and as such, were glad to see this amendment pass.

The committee passed an amendment offered by Rep Barbara Comstock (R-VA) that ensures the remote tower pilot program, established by section 610 of the bill, will be eligible for AIP funding.

Rep. Rodney Davis’s (R-IL) amendment requiring the FAA to charter an aviation rulemaking advisory committee to develop recommendations to allow micro Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) operators to operate micro UAS without being to pass without any airman certification exam also passed.

NASAO strongly opposed Rep. Alan Lowenthal’s (D-CA) amendment to exempt general and “generally applicable” state sales taxes on aviation fuel from the federal requirement to utilize these funds for aviation purposes and was very pleased that the amendment was withdrawn. Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-CA) sponsored this amendment in the previous Congress and NASAO fought to defeat it then as well.

The AIRR Act, having now passed out of Committee, will soon be considered on the House floor. The bill’s inclusion of ATC privatization will run into the same opposition from Democrats, appropriators, and tax-writers that it did last year, but the backing of Speaker Ryan and President Trump will also be a significant factor. As you know, the Senate’s FAA Reauthorization bill does not include ATC privatization and is expected to be marked-up on Thursday. Both bills could see floor time and final passage in their respective chambers before the end of July, potentially leading to an impasse, which in all likelihood would result in another short term extension.

NASAO will continue advocate for our legislative priorities in both FAA Reauthorization bills and keep members informed of all major developments. Please contact John Shea at (703) 610-0272 or with any legislative inquiries.

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