…Vote On Funding Bill Expected Any Day…


The FAA reauthorization bill is expected to come up for a vote on the Senate floor sometime this week. For the most part, Republicans are supporting the bill, while Democrats oppose it. Republicans outnumber Democrats in the Senate by three votes. Senators opposed to the bill have been working to stall the showdown, and Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), a vocal opponent of ATC privatization, has threatened a filibuster to delay the vote even further. According to The Hill, an insider newspaper in Washington, Lautenberg plans to read aloud from transcripts of air traffic controllers landing planes in the wake of the terror attacks of 9/11/01, as well as reports of near misses and crashes in countries where towers are privatized. Although reference to contracting out 69 FAA towers was removed from the revised bill now in play, language that would have explicitly protected ATC from privatization also was taken out. If the Senate adjourns without a decision, a continuing resolution would likely be passed to continue FAA funding at current levels until the bill is taken up again when the Senate reconvenes in January.