Aviation industry groups will seek congressional penalties against the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) if the agency fails to release its foreign repair station security rule before the end of March.

A House appropriations bill passed earlier this year included a condition that withheld $5 million from the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS’s) Office of General Counsel until the TSA releases its long-delayed final rule on FAA certification of foreign repair stations (Aviation Daily, June 5).

This bill, however, was superseded by a six-month continuing resolution (CR) that was enforced to keep government funds flowing after lawmakers failed to pass a budget, and the CR does not contain any mention of the DHS penalty. The CR is effective through March 27.

“If TSA has not done a rule by the end of this year or in the early parts of next year, I think that [another penalty] is something we will continue to pursue with the appropriations committee,” says Paul Feldman, VP-government affairs for the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA).

According to Feldman, though, industry may not need to seek the penalty, noting that there is “a lot of activity around the rule” at the DHS.

DHS must clear the rule before it can proceed to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for final review and approval. But Feldman believes that the OMB could work with the TSA to get the rule out by year-end.

“There’s no guarantee that we get this done, but I also think that we’re making progress on it,” Feldman tells Aviation Week.

GAMA and a number of aviation groups in August urged DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano to increase pressure on the TSA to issue the rule.

Earlier this month, TSA Deputy Administrator John Halinski told a House of Representatives transportation security panel that the agency is “aggressively pursuing” release of the rule but could not guarantee that it will be out by year-end.

Halinski added, however, that the rule had left the TSA and is in the review process.