While the House is calling for substantial cuts, FAA’s budget stands to fare better under the Senate version of the fiscal 2014 transportation funding bill that is scheduled for consideration this week.

The Senate transportation, housing and urban development subcommittee will vote on its version of the fiscal 2014 funding bill on June 25, followed by the full Senate Appropriations Committee on June 27 – the same day the House Appropriations Committee is set to consider its own bill.

The House and Senate bills will be significantly different, since the House bill includes steep cuts over the Obama administration’s request and the fiscal 2013 enacted level. The Senate bill is expected to seek an increase.

The House allocated a total of $44.1 billion for the entire fiscal 2014 transportation, housing, urban development and related agencies budget. This was $7 billion less than the $51.698 billion enacted in fiscal 2013 and the $51.605 billion that the White House requested. This means FAA, along with other agencies covered by the bill, would endure cuts below sequestration levels under that bill. The facilities and equipment account, which helps maintain the national air transportation system equipment and supports NextGen funding, would take the biggest hit under the House bill.

House appropriations Democrats protested the allocation, saying it would, among other things, hurt progress on NextGen. Conversely, the Senate is allocating $54.045 billion for the fiscal 2014 transportation, housing, urban development and related agencies budget – an increase over the enacted and requested levels.

While the House bill calls for steep cuts, the legislation approved by the House transportation, house and urban development subcommittee last week includes funding to avoid air traffic controller furloughs and protect the contract tower program from sequestration cuts. The Senate version likely will contain similar measures, given the strong support in both the House and Senate for the contract tower program and full controller staffing levels. Both Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) and member Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) have led an effort to preserve contract towers and ensure furloughs are avoided.