Third-Class Medical Reform Passes Again


The U.S. Senate today passed a bill that includes changes for how third-class medicals would be implemented, marking the third time in the last six months that such legislation has been passed by the Senate. “It’s clear that third-class medical reform has strong bipartisan support,” AOPA President Mark Baker said in a statement today. “The Senate has passed these reforms three times already, and the Pilots Bill of Rights 2 has 178 bipartisan co-sponsors in the House. It’s time for the House to take action and pass Pilot’s Bill of Rights 2 so we can get much-needed medical reforms.” Today the reforms were included in the National Defense Authorization Act, which passed by a vote of 85 to 13.

Aviation-related legislation has been stalled in the House due to a stalemate over a proposal to privatize air traffic control. AOPA, EAA, GAMA, NBAA and 10 other aviation advocacy groups sent a letter (PDF) to House leaders last week, urging them to end the stalemate and reauthorize the FAA before the current authorization expires on July 15. If no bill has been passed by then, the FAA will have to operate on short-term budget extensions, as it has in the past. NATCA has been lobbying for the government to change the way the FAA is funded, in hopes that a new system could be put in place that would avoid these recurring budget issues.