The U.S. Senate approved an extension of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) funding authority until March 8, 2024, averting a potential shut down of non-critical FAA operations and services. While the House of Representatives passed its extension on December 11, 2023, the bill was held up in the Senate by Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) over disagreements on funding for border security and aid for Ukraine. Senator Bennet lifted his hold yesterday, December 19, 2023, which clears the measure for President Biden’s signature.
The extension provides more time for the Senate to attempt to reach a compromise on its FAA reauthorization proposal. The Senate bill has been in limbo for months now as agreement on potentially changing the retirement age of pilots and minimum pilot training hours remain elusive. Discussions have reportedly continued to take place and will continue into the new year.
While FAA authorization has been extended to March 8, 2024, federal agencies continue to operate under a Continuing Resolution (CR) since none of the 12 FY 2024 annual appropriation spending bills have been approved. Congress passed a two-tier appropriations extension last month, with some agencies’ (including the Department of Transportation and FAA) funding lasting through January 19, 2024, with the rest, including the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), lasting until February 2, 2024.
If interested you are interested in learning more about the current situation with FY 2024 appropriations bills and continuing resolutions, the Peter G. Peterson Foundation has a great article explaining it.
The ACC Advocacy Committee will hold a Washington Briefing for ACC members in early 2024. ACC will be actively monitoring progress on an FAA reauthorization bill and working with Congress to outline the impacts of a delay in passing this critical legislation.