No Vote Scheduled for House Air Traffic Bill

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By Shaun Courtney

The House bill (H.R. 2997) that would spin off air traffic control into a nongovernmental entity is not scheduled for a vote the week of July 17, despite having been listed on the House Rules Committee calendar as possibly under consideration.

House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) included his air traffic proposal in a bill to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration. The agency’s current authorization is set to expire Sept. 30.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said at a news conference July 13 that the bill was being whipped. However, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) did not mention the air traffic bill July 14 as he and Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) discussed the floor schedule for the upcoming week.

“Well, we are still getting ready. We’ll be ready to go whenever there’s time in the schedule,” Justin Harclerode, communications director for the transportation committee, told Bloomberg BNA.

The schedule for the week of July 17 on the Rules Committee website says that other items could be added. Amendments for Shuster’s bill are due by noon, July 17.

There has been some bipartisan opposition to the bill from House appropriators, including Transportation-Housing Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.).

In addition to appropriators, the bill faces skepticism among members who support general aviation airports. Shuster worked to ameliorate concerns among general aviation by removing user fees and giving the group a seat on the new entity’s board. Still, general aviation advocacy groups came out in opposition to the proposal.

“We are aware that members still have questions,” Harclerode told Bloomberg BNA. “We are working to address those questions and get ready for moving ahead.”

Shuster’s committee approved the bill 32-25, nearly along party lines with just one Republican, Rep. Rodd Rokita (R-Ind.), voting no.

A similar effort by Shuster in 2016 was approved in committee, but did not advance to the floor for a vote.

To contact the reporter on this story: Shaun Courtney in Washington at scourtney@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Hendrie at pHendrie@bna.com

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