GOP confident on FAA bill, but privatization issues unresolved

With Federal Aviation Administration funding set to expire when the current continuing resolution ends Oct. 31, Republican conferees are confident they will garner enough votes to reauthorize the agency and its programs this week or next.

One GOP source said reauthorization is "very imminent" and conferees would not need another CR to continue the FAA negotiations. He acknowledged that some aspects of the conference bill, particularly the provision allowing partial privatization of the air traffic control workforce, may need to be "modified" in order to secure enough votes for approval.

Democrats, however, said conferees will have to do much more than that to pass a reauthorization bill before the end of the month. Several Democrats, including Sen. Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, have said they will not approve reauthorization unless conferees reinsert the original language-included in the reauthorization bills passed by the House and Senate-expressly prohibiting any air traffic control privatization.

Lautenberg said today that the Bush administration's insistence on including the conference bill's privatization language is forcing Republicans to make deals they are unhappy with, simply to secure enough votes for passage.

"Hardliners in the White House have really put Republican leaders in a bad position, holding up the FAA legislation over politics and corporate favors," Lautenberg contended. "And I certainly don't think anybody wants practical decisions concerning the safety of the flying public in the hands of ideologues in the White House."

One House Democratic source familiar with the FAA conference said she is not confident that Congress can pass the reauthorization bill in the next two weeks, and that Republicans would have already brought the bill to a vote if they had enough votes for passage.

"It would be great if we could do this without another CR," the source said, but she added that a broadly supported bipartisan bill would have to include the original anti-privatization provision. "Republicans hold the cards here; no one's holding this up but them," she said.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.