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DeFazio Responds to Final Passage of a Six-Month FAA Extension

Sep 28, 2017
Press Release

DeFazio Responds to Final 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) reacted after the final passage of a short-term, six-month Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) extension.

“While I'm glad the House has accepted the Senate changes to the FAA Extension and the FAA will not shut down, we should not be in this situation. This is the fourth short-term FAA extension Congress has passed in the last two years. Extensions that are necessary only because Republicans have wasted years 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. Republicans and Democrats agree on most of the 21st Century AIRR Act. We all want a 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. We could pass that bill today and give the FAA, American manufacturers, and our aviation community the long-term certainty necessary to maintain our position as the world leader in civil aviation and create and sustain thousands of American jobs. 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.

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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