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House Transportation Committee Passes AIRR Act

Panel Votes To Move The Legislation To The Full House

The Transportation and Infrastructure Committee today approved the bipartisan 21st Century AIRR Act (H.R. 2997), legislation that its supporters say provides sweeping, transformational reform of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

The Committee approved the 21st Century Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization Act (21st Century AIRR Act) by a vote of 32 to 25.

“I appreciate all the work done today by the Members of the Committee on this legislation that puts the American taxpayers, innovation, jobs, and the traveling public before Washington dysfunction,” said Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) (pictured). “We thoroughly debated the legislation, considered approximately 80 amendments, approved substantial improvements offered by Members from both sides of the aisle, and voted to move forward to give Americans the safe, efficient, modern aviation system they deserve.”

Shuster added, “I particularly want to thank my fellow bill sponsors and Committee colleagues – Chairman LoBiondo, Congressman Graves, and Congressman Mitchell – for all their efforts and expertise on these issues, which helped strengthen the product we moved forward with today. The 21st Century AIRR Act continues to gain momentum, and I look forward to now taking up this bill in the House before August.”

“Today’s debate demonstrated that there is a clear consensus the status quo is not working and more can be done to move our aviation system into the 21st century,” said Aviation Subcommittee Chairman Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ). “Without sacrificing the safest system in the world, the U.S. can and must move to a more efficient and effective system for future growth. I applaud Chairman Shuster’s leadership and willingness to include bipartisan ideas into the 21st Century AIRR Act and will continue to work closely with him as we move the bill to the House floor.”

“Chairman Shuster has shown a continued, sincere commitment to shaping an FAA reauthorization bill that is in the best interest of America’s aviation sector and our country as a whole,” said U.S. Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO). “I commend the Chairman and the entire Transportation and Infrastructure Committee for its work to substantively and legitimately address the concerns of everyone in this vital industry. Tonight’s vote was a critical step in the process, but we have a long way to go. I look forward to continuing to work with the Chairman and my colleagues to secure a final product that ensures all of aviation can continue flying safely, securely, and freely.”

“The Committee’s action today underscores our commitment to keeping America in the lead by modernizing our air traffic control system. This transformative change will improve America’s competitiveness, enhance aviation safety, improve service for customers, strengthen general aviation, and preserve access for rural and small communities,” said Aviation Subcommittee Vice Chair Paul Mitchell (R-MI).

But Democrats, and some Republicans, opposed the move to privatize ATC. Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN) (pictured)  said during the hearing that allowing airlines to largely control the board that would govern the nonprofit which would operate ATC was akin to giving the trucking industry control over the nation's highway system. "The concept is fundamentally flawed," he said during the hearing.

Chairman Shuster disputed that assertion. “Nobody will dominate that board," he said. “It’s simply not true that the airlines will control this board or the FAA for that matter."

According to a committee press release, the 21st Century Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization Act will:

  • Cut Washington red tape so that our manufacturers can get products to market on time, stay competitive, and continue to employ millions of Americans.
  • Encourage American innovation in aviation technologies to promote a stronger American workforce.
  • Ensure that our airport infrastructure connects businesses and people to the world.
  • Provide a better flying experience from gate to gate.
  • Ensure access to the aviation system for everyone who depends on it – especially the Nation’s millions of general aviation users, and small and rural America.
  • Provide Americans with a safe, efficient, modern system that uses 21st century technology to ensure more on-time departures, more direct routes, and less time wasted on the tarmac.

The markup of the Senate version of the bill is scheduled for Thursday.

(Images from file)

FMI: transportation.house.gov

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