A House vote on whether to separate air traffic control from the federal government – which is included in a must-pass aviation bill – will likely slip to September, Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) told Fox News.
Shuster, chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, has been scrambling to whip up support for the spinoff proposal, which was included in a long-term reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). President Trump has also publicly endorsed the model and sent high-ranking officials to Capitol Hill to sell skeptical Republicans on the idea.
But with supporters short on votes and facing a time crunch, it appears that action on the legislation will have to wait until after the August recess. House lawmakers are scheduled to leave town after this week.
Shuster said he remains committed to passing a long-term FAA bill before the agency’s legal authority expires at the end of September, and he hopes to avoid enacting another extension.
“The end of September… the FAA bill is a must-pass bill— if it doesn’t get funded they’ll stop funding the FAA program, various programs. So we won’t let that happen,” Shuster reportedly said. ‘We will have to figure it out as we move forward.”
The legislation may be tacked onto other must-pass legislation, such as a debt ceiling bill, the report added.
Across the Capitol, the Senate is moving ahead with an FAA bill that leaves the country’s air navigation system in place. But senators are also struggling to find room on the floor calendar, while the measure contains controversial language regarding pilot training requirements that may stop the bill from moving forward.
Assuming both chambers are able to pass their FAA bills, the House and Senate would still need to hash out differences in conference negotiations – a process that could prove challenging and time-consuming.