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ICYMI: Chairman Graves Op-Ed: It’s Time to Add to the U.S.’s Rich Aviation History

Washington, D.C., November 20, 2023 | Justin Harclerode (202) 225-9446
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In case you missed it, this op-ed by Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO) was published by Aviation International News. In it, Graves talks about the importance of passing a long-term FAA reauthorization bill and urges the Senate to move forward with consideration of a bill.

It’s Time to Add to the U.S.’s Rich Aviation History

By: Sam Graves – November 17, 2023

November is National Aviation History Month when we celebrate our important figures and achievements in aviation—a quintessential American industry. From the Wright Brothers to the first nonstop flight around the world to the earliest example of a helicopter rescue, American aviators and engineers have set the global gold standard in aviation and pushed the boundaries of what was thought possible.

As chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and a professional pilot, I have made it a top priority to ensure the U.S. remains the world’s leader in aviation. One critical way to do this is by passing a comprehensive bipartisan bill to reauthorize the FAA.

Earlier this year, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted to ensure the FAA has the structure, resources, and direction it needs to ensure the continued success of American aviation. While the Senate was able to successfully confirm Michael Whitaker to lead the FAA, they have not yet passed their own version of an FAA reauthorization, delaying Congress’ ability to send a long-term bill to the President’s desk.

In June, a bipartisan group of Transportation and Infrastructure Committee leaders and I introduced H.R.3935, the Securing Growth and Robust Leadership in American Aviation Act.

This legislation seeks to reinforce the safety of our system by addressing the recent uptick in runway incursions to ensure the U.S. and the FAA remain the pinnacle of aviation safety.  The bill also proposes to make smart and targeted investments in airport infrastructure and to improve the quality of commercial air service for passengers.

The bill will also make the FAA more efficient by making targeted changes to the organizational structure of the agency, and it will support our domestic aviation industry as it continues the United States’ long history of leading the world in aerospace innovation.  By cutting unnecessary red tape and optimizing the safety testing and integration of new technologies, our bill delivers much-needed certainty to American innovators who rely on their partnership with the FAA to transform our skies and the way we travel.

H.R.3935 recognizes that the long-term success of the U.S. aviation system is built upon a strong general aviation (GA) foundation. The vast majority of our aviation professionals, including pilots and mechanics, get their start in GA, and our bill includes the first-ever GA title to address issues that have plagued the segment of the aviation industry for too long.

I am encouraged that my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in the House of Representatives recognize how critical a long-term FAA reauthorization bill is to the safe and efficient operation of civil aviation programs and the NAS.  H.R.3935 passed the House with overwhelming bipartisan support, which speaks to the quality of this legislation and its promise to address the challenges currently facing the aviation industry.

This is a crucial time for American aviation.  Reflecting on the United States’ rich aviation history, it’s clear that the large gap that once existed between American innovation in aviation and the rest of the world has significantly narrowed.  China and other countries are beginning to rival us in the development and integration of new technologies.

A timely, comprehensive FAA reauthorization bill is essential if we, as a nation, are to remain the global leader in aviation.  The world is watching, and so I encourage the Senate to move forward with consideration of a bill so that we can soon see a final bill enacted into law.  America has always been at the forefront of aviation history, and we must work to ensure that we remain at the forefront of aviation’s future.

Rep. Sam Graves (R-Missouri) is the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

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Tags: Aviation