The U.S. House of Representatives today voted to fund the in fiscal 2014, a move that would effectively end staff furloughs and permit the U.S. Registry to reopen.
The bill, however, is not expected to go further than the House. This is one of only a few specific funding the bills the House is passing independently while negotiations continue on a larger budget deal. Senate leaders, however, are pushing for a single budget bill, and have indicated they will not accept a piecemeal approach to funding and reopening of the federal government.
The FAA funding bill also has drawn opposition from the White House, which released a statement that passing budgets in a piecemeal fashion “is not a serious or responsible way to run the U.S. government. Instead of opening up a few government functions, the House of Representatives should re-open all of the government.”
The House bill would extend the FAA’s funding at fiscal 2013 levels through Dec. 15 or until a more comprehensive government spending bill is adopted. The levels approved would still be subject to sequestration cuts. The resolution also provides that “only the most limited funding action . . . shall be taken in order to provide for continuation of projects and activities.”
While the bill is expected to stall in the Senate, it provides a signal that Congress is placing a priority on problems in the aviation industry that have surfaced as a result of the shutdown. Lawmakers in both the House and Senate independently are understood to be writing letters to the FAA advocating the reopening of its aircraft registration office, the close of which has halted almost all aircraft sales, exports and imports.
Despite the ramifications of the House bill, industry remains quiet. Since the budget debate has become so partisan, industry groups have found themselves in the middle of the crossfire between Capitol Hill and the White House, making it difficult for them to throw support behind certain measures.
Even so, industry organizations are planning a rally tomorrow to advocate for the full resumption of FAA operations.
[Editor’s note: This article has been updated to reflect the vote’s result and adds White House comment.]