July 20, 2023

House Approves Bipartisan FAA Reauthorization Legislation


The House of Representatives today passed the Securing Growth and Robust Leadership in American Aviation Act (H.R. 3935), a bill to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and aviation safety and infrastructure programs for the next five years, with broad bipartisan support in a 351-69 vote.

The legislation was introduced on June 9th by T&I Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO), T&I Committee Ranking Member Rick Larsen (D-WA), Aviation Subcommittee Chairman Garret Graves (R-LA), and Aviation Subcommittee Ranking Member Steve Cohen (D-TN). H.R. 3935 was approved by the T&I Committee in a unanimous 63-0 vote on June 14th and has garnered the support of more than 1,000 aviation leaders and stakeholders, including those listed here and here.

“America has always been the gold standard in aviation, and this bill ensures that we remain the world leader,” said Committee Chairman Sam Graves.  “This bipartisan legislation improves the safety of our system, our airport infrastructure, and the quality of service for passengers.  Not only that, this bill will make the FAA more efficient, encourage the safe adoption of new and innovative technologies, and address growing workforce shortages, from pilots and mechanics to air traffic controllers. In addition, this bill provides the first title dedicated specifically to our critical general aviation sector – the backbone of the American aviation system. I appreciate the work of all my colleagues who helped develop and move this bill through the House today, and I look forward to finishing work on this bill with the Senate before the current FAA law expires in September.”

“Today, the House voted to bolster America’s global aviation leadership,” said Committee Ranking Member Rick Larsen. “This good faith process yielded a bipartisan bill that will create a safer, cleaner, greener, and more accessible U.S. aviation system. It will maintain our gold standard in safety and innovation, make a more sustainable and resilient aviation sector a reality, and improve accessibility and consumer protections for all passengers. This is also a jobs bill. It helps to build the economy from the middle out and the bottom up, and diversifies our workforce, recognizing how critical that effort is to our nation’s long-term economic success. I appreciate the partnership and collaboration of Chair Sam Graves, Subcommittee Ranking Member Steve Cohen, and Subcommittee Chair Garret Graves on delivering this bipartisan bill to secure the future of America’s aviation system.”

“The strong bipartisan vote today makes clear America will continue to be the global leader in aviation technology, trade, safety, and commercial air travel,” said Aviation Chairman Garret Graves.  “The aviation bill makes transformative changes in the passenger experience and private aviation.  Innovators in the Unmanned Aerial Systems and Advanced Air Mobility space also get the regulatory certainty they need to deploy some of the world’s most impressive technologies.  I want to thank Chairman Sam Graves, Ranking Member Rick Larsen, Subcommittee Ranking Member Steve Cohen, and all our committee members for getting this legislation to this significant milestone.”

“I am pleased to see a bipartisan Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act receive overwhelming approval by the House,” said Aviation Ranking Member Steve Cohen.  “This transformative legislation, which required compromises from both sides, will improve the safety of the flying public, create good jobs and bolster the aviation workforce pipeline, and take important steps to protect consumers, including those with disabilities.  This is a good bill, and I am proud to support it.  I am hopeful we can work out a final bill with the Senate well before our September deadline.”

In summary, the bill:

Improves FAA Efficiency and Operations
The bill makes targeted changes to the organizational structure of the FAA to improve overall efficiency of the agency, allow for innovation, and streamline the regulatory process. The bill does so in a manner that will not harm the FAA’s ongoing efforts while simultaneously ensuring the agency is better organized to lead in an advanced aviation future.

Strengthens America’s General Aviation (GA) Sector
Most of our aviation professionals, including pilots and mechanics, get their start in GA. This bill recognizes that the success of the United States aviation system is built upon a strong GA foundation and includes the first-ever general aviation title to secure our aviation industry’s long-term success.

Grows the Aviation Workforce
Our aviation system is experiencing a shortage of qualified workers, including pilots, mechanics, and air traffic controllers. This bill addresses workforce challenges by removing barriers to pursuing aviation careers, expanding the aviation workforce pipeline, improving training standards, and more.

Invests in United States Airport Infrastructure
Airports connect our communities, create jobs, and drive economic growth.  The bill authorizes robust funding for airport infrastructure, including prioritizing investments for small and GA airports, and streamlining project delivery.

Upholds America’s Gold Standard in Safety
America’s aviation system is safe, but the system is not immune to stress and must continually be made safer. The bill addresses several safety issues, including the recent uptick in runway incursions, to ensure the United States, and the FAA, remain the world’s gold standard in aviation safety.

Encourages Aviation Innovation
America has been a leader in aviation innovation. Unfortunately, due to bureaucratic hurdles, endless research, and pilot programs that are not leading to the development and incorporation of new technologies, China and other countries are beginning to surpass the United States. The bill encourages the safe yet more efficient testing and integration of new technologies, such as drones and Advanced Air Mobility (AAM), into the airspace.

Enhances the Passenger Experience
While many parts of the aviation system typically function without incident despite a growing volume of travelers, one weak link in a trip can ruin a passenger’s experience.  The bill delivers reforms that will enhance the experience for the traveling public.

Authorizes the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)
As the independent Federal agency responsible for investigating all civil aviation accidents, in addition to accidents in other modes of transportation, the NTSB plays an important role in transportation safety. Last authorized in the 2018 FAA Reauthorization Act, this bill provides updates to the NTSB’s authorization.

More information about the Securing Growth and Robust Leadership in American Aviation Act can be found here.