Senate's FAA Bill Faces White House Opposition

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The GA community has been cautiously celebrating this week over the removal of user fees in the final version of the Senate's FAA reauthorization bill -- but there's a ways to go before any bill becomes law, and the White House on Tuesday made clear that it's not ready to welcome this latest iteration. The Senate bill, the White House said in a policy statement, fails to include "critical reforms proposed by the Administration," including "more closely aligning FAA's revenues with its costs through fair fees linked to usage of the system..." which is another way of saying "user fees." The statement continues, "If the President is presented with a bill that not only excludes the critical reforms proposed by the Administration, but also includes provisions that would further exacerbate an untenable status quo, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto it."

Other provisions in the Senate bill that the White House objects to include limits on how the FAA can restrict airport access to reduce congestion and too much funding for airport-improvement grants. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and ranking member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) are holding a news conference in Washington today that will also be attended by representatives of most aviation groups to discuss the Senate bill.