FAA Reauthorization Act Passed in House

H.R. 658, the FAA Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2011, passed by a majority vote of 223-196. Eleven moderate Republicans joined 185 Democrats in voting against the bill, while two Democrats, John Barrow (GA-12) and Jim Matheson (UT-2) joined the Republican majority.

The measure is distinctly different from similar legislation passed by the Senate (S 223), and the contents will need to be debated on in conference committee. One striking difference is that the House version omits the 47% increase in passenger jet fuel tax as provided in the Senate version. The House version also reduces the amount of revenue devoted to non-safety expenditures by 10% each year until 2014 when the reauthorization expires, while the Senate version keeps expenditures at present levels for the next three fiscal years.

House Amendment 232 to the bill, sponsored by Bill Shuster (PA-9), requires the FAA to conduct appropriate cost/benefit studies on all proposed regulations and only enact regulations upon a finding that the costs are justified by the benefits.

House Amendment 228, introduced by Pete Sessions (TX-32), was struck down by a vote of 183-238, with 51 moderate Republicans joining all Democrats against the measure. The amendment would have prevented any funds in the bill from being used to administer or enforce the Davis-Bacon Act of 1931 (requiring the government to pay union scale to private contractors).

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