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DeFazio, Larsen Respond to House Passage of a Six-Month FAA Extension

Sep 28, 2017
Press Release

DeFazio, Larsen Respond to House Passage of a Six-Month FAA Extension

Washington, D.C. – Today, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Ranking Member of the House Subcommittee on Aviation Rick Larsen (D-WA) reacted after the U.S. House of Representatives passed a short-term, six-month Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) extension.

“Here we are again. Yet another short-term extension to keep the lights on at the FAA while Republicans insist on wasting more time on their crusade to privatize our Nation’s air traffic control system and hand over billions of dollars in public assets to a private corporation run by the major airlines. We could immediately pass a bipartisan, long-term bill that improves safety, enhances the air travel experience, encourages innovation and emerging technologies, provides for stable aviation program funding, and makes needed and targeted reforms to critical FAA programs. But instead, the House passed a short-term extension weighed down with non-FAA related Republican priorities. I urge my Republican colleagues to drop their futile effort to give away our public airspace to special interests and work with Democrats on a long-term bill,” said DeFazio.

“I am disappointed,” said Larsen. “Instead of celebrating a bipartisan, long-term, and comprehensive FAA bill, Congress is once again on the verge of passing a short-term extension. This Congress alone, the Aviation Subcommittee has explored issues related to growth in the drone and commercial space industry, modernizing the national airspace as part of the FAA’s NextGen program, and expediting safety certification so U.S. manufacturers can get products to market more quickly. Unfortunately, moving the ball down the field on these issues – which is required to maintain the competitiveness of American aviation – has been torpedoed yet again by a controversial plan to privatize the nation’s air traffic control system.”

BACKGROUND

The House passed the short-term FAA extension after House Republicans failed to bring up for a vote the “21st Century AIRR Act”, a long-term reauthorization that includes a controversial plan to strip air traffic control (ATC) functions from the FAA and give them to a private corporation run by special interests. The AIRR Act creates a private monopoly, giving effective control of our public airspace to the major airlines and their allies. The AIRR Act would add nearly $100 billion to the deficit.

Under the AIRR Act, the private corporation will have the power to raise passengers’ fees to pay for the ATC system, to decide which airports get the best flight routings, and to control ultimately who will have access to our skies without Congressional oversight. Critical aviation infrastructure in rural areas could be shuttered, and many small and midsize communities could lose air service.

The AIRR Act severs critical ties between the Department of Defense and the FAA, a collaboration that keeps our airspace safe every day and is critical during national emergencies. It also leaves the FAA’s safety oversight functions vulnerable to Congressional budget cuts, shutdowns, and year-to-year funding uncertainty.

More information on ATC privatization can be found here.

 

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