Yesterday (Thursday), Congressional leaders agreed to the FAA funding bill. In particular, the Senate agreed to pass a bill that the House had already passed in mid-July that provides the authority to fund the FAA. This is the 21st continuing resolution for FAA funding that Congress has passed over the last four years.
This law is known as the “Airport and Airway Extension Act of 2011, Part IV.” It extends the authority to run the FAA’s programs through September 16, 2011. It also imposes limits on the Essential Air Service program, such that the Federal Government can stop subsidizing air service to smaller airports where there is a medium or larger hub airport within 90 miles.
This does not mean that the FAA can rest on their laurels and get some work done without worrying about funding. This is the House bill that was sent to the Senate on July 20 to temporarily extend funding through September 16. Unless something unusual happens, Congress is still scheduled to be in recess through the evening of September 7. So there will be just about a week for Congress to pass the next extension, once they return to
As we’ve discussed, previously, the FAA projects that are authorized under the FAA Authorization had been unfunded since midnight on July 23, when the authorization ran out without a continuing resolution.
Much of the FAA is funded through the Department of Transportation Appropriation, so there is still money to run the agency, but many of the projects related to airports and improvements are on hold, and the authority to collect certain airline ticket taxes has been suspended until it is reauthorized.
Past posts on this subject
- SNAFU: Situation Normal, Authorization for FAA Unfunded
- Why Isn’t the FAA Returning Your Phone Calls?
On an editorial note, this continuing resolution legislation was available for passage by the Senate on July 20 … there is no legitimate reason why it needed to be delayed for two weeks.