February 08, 2019

Chairs DeFazio and Larsen Introduce Legislation to Protect U.S. Aviation System, FAA During Future Shutdowns

Washington, D.C. – Today, the Chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Aviation Rick Larsen (D-WA) introduced legislation that would protect Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) programs and personnel, and the U.S. aviation industry as a whole, from future shutdowns of the Federal Government.

“The United States aviation system is the safest, busiest, most complex aviation system in the world—a system that was seriously jeopardized by the absurd 35-day government shutdown. Thousands of FAA safety personnel responsible for providing critical oversight of the U.S. aviation industry were furloughed. Our 14,000 air traffic controllers, and thousands of aviation safety and security professionals worked without pay. The effects of this most recent shutdown will be felt for years to come. This must not happen again. Our legislation ensures that in any future government shutdowns, all FAA programs will function uninterrupted and that all FAA employees can remain at work and paid. The users of the National Airspace System pay for the system and deserve for it to function without interruption. I thank the many stakeholder groups for their support of this critical legislation and look forward to working with my colleagues to move this bill forward,” said DeFazio.

“U.S. aviation is the gold standard of flight because of our skilled workforce, including the dedicated air traffic controllers and essential safety personnel who work at the FAA. Their work keeps the aviation system running efficiently and ensures passengers can safely reach their final destinations without incident,” said Larsen. “Allowing the FAA to draw from the Airport and Airway Trust Fund during a funding lapse will ensure essential personnel who work under immensely stressful situations continue to get paid, and that the largest, busiest and most complex airspace system in the world remains safe for passengers and employees,” said Larsen.

The legislation will do two things:

  • Authorize the FAA to continue to draw from its Airport and Airway Trust Fund (AATF) during a lapse, with no General Fund contributions. The AATF generates enough revenue from the domestic passenger ticket tax, commercial fuel tax, general aviation gasoline tax, and cargo tax, among other sources, to sustain all of the agency's programs without a General Fund contribution.
  • Allow the entire agency to operate at current funding levels, with no Congressional action required. This ensures that all FAA programs function uninterrupted and that all FAA employees are paid for their important work.

This legislation has the support of aviation industry stakeholders, including:

  • Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA)
  • Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA)
  • Airlines for America (A4A)
  • Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA)
  • American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE)
  • Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA)
  • Delta Air Lines
  • General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA)
  • Helicopter Association International (HAI)
  • International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM)
  • National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA)
  • National Business Aviation Association (NBAA)
  • Professional Aviation Safety Specialists, AFL-CIO (PASS)
  • Regional Airline Association (RAA)
  • Transport Workers Union of America (TWU)

To read a fact sheet about the legislation, click here.

To read the bill text, click here.