Congress likely to approve six-month FAA extension

Congress Tuesday was expected to agree to a six-month extension of federal aviation law as well as provide another $8 billion to federal highway coffers.

The House is likely to approve the measure under suspension of the rules, followed shortly by the Senate.

The bill extends federal aviation law and excise taxes another six months after Congress was unable to reach agreement this year on FAA reauthorization legislation aimed at helping to modernize the nation's air traffic control system from a ground-based to satellite-based system.

Lawmakers are expected to take another stab at that reauthorization effort next year.

The six-month FAA extension also comes with the transfer of money from the Treasury to the highway trust fund, which many expect to have a shortfall starting next year.

It is the same amount of money that was transferred from the highway trust fund to the Treasury in 1998. A small number of Senate fiscal conservatives objected to a unanimous consent motion to bring the bill up and approve it Monday. But Republican leaders say there is plenty of support to move it through on a roll-call vote.

Meanwhile, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., confirmed Tuesday that the House will consider airline passengers bill of rights legislation this week. The bill remains in development; it will address "great concerns," including extended tarmac waits and overbooking of flights, Hoyer said.

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