Airport Alert: Senate Advances FAA Reauthorization Bill and Short-Term Extension

Senate Advances FAA Reauthorization Bill and Short-Term Extension
May 10, 2024

The Senate last night overwhelmingly approved a multi-year FAA reauthorization bill and after a brief hiccup cleared a measure to extend aviation programs and excise taxes through May 17. The dual action in the Senate clears the way for the House of Representatives to consider the long-term FAA bill next week and for the President to sign the short-term extension into law before the deadline at midnight tonight.
FAA Reauthorization
The FAA reauthorization bill will increase AIP funding to $4 billion annually, authorize $200 million annually for resilience and runway safety projects, and help airports to transition to fluorine-free firefighting foam. The bicameral and bipartisan measure will also usher in a long of AIP formula changes, take steps to streamline the PFC application process, and increase funding for workforce development and small community air service programs.
Senate Commerce Committee Chair Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Ranking Member Ted Cruz (R-TX), Aviation Subcommittee Chair Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), and Ranking Member Jerry Moran (R-KS) issued a press release last night that echoes those themes and indicates the bill “grows infrastructure investments in airports of all sizes, ensures small, rural communities remain connected with air service.”
The Senate-passed bill does not contain an amendment from Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and John Kennedy (R-LA) that would have prohibited or severely restricted the TSA from using biometric facial matching technologies at security checkpoints. AAAE, ACI-NA, and other aviation stakeholders urged lawmakers to reject the proposal because it would reduce aviation security and create longer lines at security checkpoints.
In other good news, the final bill does not include proposals to mandate security escorts for VIPs or regulate ground transportation and gate usage at airports as some in the Senate had advocated. 
What’s Next?
With the Senate completing its work, the FAA reauthorization bill now goes to the House of Representatives where it is expected to receive strong bipartisan support. The House will be back in session on Tuesday, and we expect lawmakers in that chamber will pass the FAA reauthorization bill as early as Wednesday. Details of the final, long-term FAA reauthorization bill are available in our earlier Airport Alert.  
The current FAA extension expires tonight at midnight. We expect the President will quickly sign the measure into law to avoid any disruptions in aviation programs and excise taxes.