U.S. House Supports Opening Up DCA...

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Bills Mandate Access Within Three Months

Two bills that would mandate allowing GA operations back into Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) passed in the U.S. House last week. The first-ever authorization bill for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which passed on a vote of 424 to 4, requires the department to implement a security plan that would allow the airport to reopen to GA within 60 days of the bill's enactment. A separate DHS appropriations bill requires such a plan to be in place within 90 days of the bill's enactment. "We are very pleased that Congress continues to apply the pressure necessary to get the Department of Homeland Security moving," President James Coyne, of the National Air Transportation Association (NATA), said last week in a news release. "For nearly four years, the message from Capitol Hill has been consistent: Reopening America's capital airport to charter and general aviation can be done in a manner that is both safe and secure, and should be done as soon as possible." Both the authorization act, H.R. 1817, and the appropriations bill, H.R. 2360, now move to the Senate for consideration. The authorization act would allow for spending $34.2 billion in fiscal year 2006 for DHS programs.