No Early Resolution To FAA Bill

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The Senate has defeated a "cloture" motion that would have limited debate on its FAA Reauthorization bill. A successful cloture motion would have significantly speeded up the discussion on the debate but with all the controversy surrounding the FAA these days, that was probably unrealistic. Members on both sides of the aisle were lining up to offer their amendments, ranging from airspace restructuring to the availability of peanuts on airliners, and enough of them insisted on being heard that the hurry-up motion was defeated. Aviation leaders were particularly anxious to see the current version of the bill passed quickly because it does not contain user fees as a method to fund air traffic control modernization.

A compromise between the Senate finance committee and the aviation subcommittee last week eliminated the $25-per-leg user fee that was proposed for turbine- powered general aviation aircraft in favor of a 65 percent tax increase on jet fuel (the tax on 100 LL would have remained the same). National Business Aviation Association President Ed Bolen said discussion of the bill has been "suspended after a procedural vote unrelated to FAA reauthorization and funding" but he's hopeful the funding compromise will survive whatever discussions ensue in the future. "Given the importance of air transportation to our nation's economy and citizens' quality of life, we hope the Senate will recommit itself to passing an FAA reauthorization bill this year," he said. The FAA is operating on a temporary financing measure that lasts another two months.