“The Disaster Tax Relief and Airport and Airway Extension Act of 2017”
September 25, 2017
Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of “The Disaster Tax Relief and Airport and Airway Extension Act of 2017.”This extension provides stability to our aviation system over the next six months while Congress continues to make progress on a full FAA reauthorization bill.
This extension is absolutely necessary to prevent a shutdown of FAA programs, delays in airport construction projects, and the possible furlough of thousands of FAA employees across the country.
But, I will be the first to admit I am disappointed we have not passed a long-term bill yet.
Unfortunately, this is not a new problem for Congress.
Between 2007 and 2012, Congress passed 23 extensions before approving a full reauthorization.
These short-term stopgaps – while necessary – create long-term budget instability, and they contribute to the FAA’s overall inability to effectively manage the modernization of our antiquated air traffic control system.
Congress has passed numerous piecemeal reforms over the years to try to help the FAA act more like a business and efficiently modernize the system.
These reforms have not worked, and passing the same kind of reforms again is not going to change the simple fact that the federal government is not an innovative, high-tech service business.
It’s time to face the truth that without transformational reform, the American people will not get the most modern and efficient air traffic control system they have been promised and deserve.
For too long, we have been trying to manage the symptoms of the problem instead of finding a cure.
Thankfully, we now have that cure – H.R. 2997, the 21st Century AIRR Act – and progress is being made every day on this bill to provide long-overdue reform of the FAA.
With the progress we’ve made, I believe we will move this bipartisan bill through the House in the next few weeks.
In the meantime, we have to pass this extension today to provide six months’ worth of certainty and stability to the FAA, the aviation community, and the flying public.
Without it, starting this Sunday, October 1st:
- FAA programs will face a shutdown,
- thousands of FAA employees could be furloughed,
- airport projects across the country will come to a halt, and
- approximately $40 million a day in Aviation Trust Fund revenue will go uncollected.
That’s funding for air traffic control, airport development, and other safety and modernization programs that will never be recovered.
I want to remind my colleagues again that the very fact that we have to pass this bill today is one of many reasons why we need fundamental, comprehensive FAA reform.
In order to ensure America remains the world leader in aviation, I look forward to bringing the bipartisan 21st Century AIRR Act to the floor in the coming weeks.
Until then, I urge my colleagues to support today’s bill.
I want to thank Chairman Brady and Chairman Hensarling for their work on this bill.
I yield back the balance of my time.