By Mary Grady, Contributing editor
With Congress now back in session, the General Aviation Caucus is playing a role in keeping GA issues on the agenda. "I think we're ultimately going to be able to keep user fees out of the FAA reauthorization bill," U.S. Rep. Sam Graves, R-Mo., who co-chairs the GA Caucus in the House, told AVweb last week at the AOPA Summit. He said three contentious issues need to be worked out to get a full reauthorization bill through Congress: essential air service, which subsidizes passenger service to small communities; a labor issue that will affect whether airline employees are allowed to unionize; and the actual funding. The funding has mainly been settled, he said, but the other two issues are contentious. Nonetheless, he was hopeful: "We had hundreds of issues out there that we were able to solve -- we're down to two," he said.
The GA caucuses, one in the House and one in the Senate, were formed in 2009 to inform members and their staff about the importance of GA to the nation's economy and transportation system. The House caucus has over 120 members, making it among the largest caucuses, according to NBAA. Graves was appointed as co-chair last year. At the Summit last week, he spoke with AVweb's Mary Grady about what issues he expects the caucus will address in the coming session; click here for that podcast.