Earlier this year the President announced a plan that would place air traffic controllers into a non-profit entity. The program was seen as a way to speed up modernization efforts and reduce bureaucracy. The FAA would have remained in control; however, corporations would pay a service fee to fund the operation. That plan today was rejected by the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee. The Hill reports:
Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), who leads the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, said the Senate’s long-term reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will not include the spinoff plan, citing the lack of support for the idea on his panel.
Instead, Thune said the House will have to take the lead on efforts to transfer the country’s air navigation system to a private corporation.
“No, we don’t have the votes to pass that in our committee at the moment,” Thune told reporters on Tuesday. “We’ll see what the House is able to do and we’ll proceed accordingly. But if that issue were to get addressed, it would probably have to be on the floor in conference.”
Thune added that final touches are being added to the bill, with a committee markup likely to happen “next week.”
The FAA’s current legal authority expires at the end of September, and lawmakers in both chambers have been crafting separate long-term proposals to reauthorize the agency.
But the idea received an icy reception from senators earlier this month when GOP lawmakers raised concern over whether rural airports and general aviation users would be adequately protected and represented under the new model.
The spinoff proposal is generally more preferred by Republicans in the lower chamber, where the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee is preparing to unveil a long-term FAA bill soon that will include spinoff language.
A similar proposal was included in the House’s long-term FAA reauthorization last year, but stalled amid opposition from GOP tax-writers and appropriators, forcing lawmakers to instead enact a short-term patch.
So for right now, it looks like everything will be in the hands of the House. Do you agree with this proposal? Is this the right choice for America?
Source: The Hill