FAA Funding Looks Likely

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Government leaders appear ready to speed through passage of a four-month funding extension for the FAA when they get back to work next week. In sharp contrast to the rancorous debate that resulted in the FAA going temporarily unfunded last July, House and Senate leaders on both sides of the aisle seem unified in efforts to pass a "clean" funding bill, stripped of all the hot-button partisan clauses that bogged the earlier one down, as early as Monday. Passage would give the legislators time to wrangle over the contentious side issues without crippling the agency. The current funding package runs out on Friday.

The issues are unlikely to go away, however. The biggest is a squabble over $16 million in subsidies for airlines serving rural airports where the routes lose money. That initiative, championed by Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, hit airports in the districts of several prominent Democrats. The Wall Street Journal says there's a high-level strategy meeting on FAA funding at the White House on Monday.