Will Senate Finally Pass FAA Reauthorization?

FAA Reauthorization Senate Bill, 2023 FAA Reauthorization drone industryUrgent Call for Senate to Pass FAA Reauthorization

As the Senate reconvenes January 8, 2024 after the holiday break, Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-9), the Ranking Member of the Aviation Subcommittee, is urging his colleagues to swiftly pass the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization bill. The House has already passed its version of the bill, the Securing Growth and Robust Leadership in American Aviation Act, by a 351-69 vote last July.  Since then, Congress has extended the Bill twice: once until the end of December, and a second extension which would fund the agency until March.

In a recent statement, Congressman Cohen emphasized the importance of the bill for the safety of the flying public, the diversification of the aviation workforce, consumer protections, and the advancement of American leadership in aerospace innovation. He expressed concern over the delay in the Senate, citing numerous near-miss incidents at U.S. airports and the negative impact of temporary FAA authority extensions.

The FAA reauthorization bill is particularly significant for the drone industry. According to a recent article on DRONELIFE.com, the current package requires the FAA to issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) flight within four months of the bill’s enactment. The bill also provides stable funding for programs, enabling the agency to allocate resources appropriately to the mandated priorities.

Congressman Cohen concluded his statement by saying, “We have had too many near-miss incidents at U.S. airports to delay our work any longer. It’s all too clear that the safety of flying is on people’s minds these days, and it is long past time for the Senate to act.” As the Senate reconvenes today, the future of U.S. aviation and the drone industry hangs in the balance. The swift passage of the FAA reauthorization bill is crucial for the continued growth and innovation in these sectors.

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