Cruz Advocates for FAA Reauthorization Extension Amidst Senate Debate
In a recent development on Capitol Hill, Senator Ted Cruz, along with fellow Republican senators, faced a setback in their attempt to secure unanimous consent for a temporary extension of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) authorization. The move comes as the current extension of FAA Reauthorization is set to expire at the end of the year. The bipartisan bill, previously passed by the House of Representatives, was blocked by Senator Michael Bennet, a Democrat from Colorado.
In a press release from the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, Senator Cruz emphasized the urgency of the situation, highlighting the record number of over 7.5 million Americans expected to travel during the upcoming holiday season. In his address on the Senate floor, Cruz underscored the potential adverse impacts on air travel and cargo shipments without a timely FAA extension. He expressed concern over the recurring need for short-term extensions, citing challenges faced during negotiations and the influence of certain special interests, particularly the pilots’ union.
Cruz and Senator Cantwell had worked on a comprehensive, bipartisan FAA reauthorization bill addressing various aspects, including airport infrastructure, workforce challenges, and safety measures. Despite past efforts, Cruz expressed dissatisfaction with the ongoing delays and the possibility of another short-term extension until 2025.
“In 2011, the last time the FAA’s authorization lapsed, more than 4,000 FAA employees were furloughed, and the FAA lost more than $400 million. The two-week lapse halted billions of dollars worth of construction projects and impacted more than 70,000 construction jobs. Leaving town without giving the FAA the certainty to operate would be a mistake. I remain committed to working with Senator Cantwell to negotiate a truly bipartisan FAA bill that the agency, the industry, and the flying public deserve.”
The objection from Sen. Michael Bennett did not appear to be about the contents of FAA Bill, but about whether the Senate should move on from current discussions about immigration and additional funding for Ukraine.
“Given how screwed up American politics can be, it can make you wonder whether we ought to take an extra day or day after that, or an extra few days…or whether we ought to move on to other things like the FAA Bill, before we are done,” said Bennett.
The House Committee on Infrastructure and Transportation has approved an extension, the Airport and Airway Extension Act of 2023, Part II, designed to fund the FAA until March 8, 2024, if a comprehensive reauthorization is not passed before the current extension expires in December.
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has penned over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
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