FAA impasse unlikely to end soon

A quick fix to the Federal Aviation Administration's partial shutdown this week appears unlikely unless the Senate is prepared to agree unanimously to a six-week stopgap bill that was passed by the House a few weeks ago. And that probably won't happen.

House Speaker John Boehner has refused to ask House members to sign off remotely on a "clean" FAA extension that is being advocated by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., suggested on Tuesday that both chambers could pass a clean FAA stopgap by Friday under "unanimous consent."

"The only way to get a bill to the president's desk is for the Senate Democrats to pass the House bill by [unanimous consent]," Boehner's spokesman, Michael Steel, said on Wednesday.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said on Wednesday that Boehner's office had made it clear that a clean FAA bill was out of the question.

Rockefeller's plan for both the House and Senate to pass a different FAA extension is technically plausible, but it is a difficult path. Even if Boehner did seek agreement from all members in the House for a clean FAA bill, there is no guarantee he would get it. That goes for the Senate as well.

Republicans and Democrats in the Senate have objected to various stopgap funding measures for the FAA. As of Tuesday night, Senate Republicans appeared willing to accept the House-passed bill even though it trims money for some rural airports, although a formal whip count hadn't been taken.

Reid also said he would accept the House bill, even though it cut funding for an airport in his state. The proposal was blocked in the end by a handful of unidentified senators.

The mood isn't very cordial on Capitol Hill anyway, and Democrats in both chambers cried foul over the dilemma that Reid faced after the House adjourned on Monday--to pass a bill that no Democrat likes or let 4,000 FAA workers remain on furlough and halt some 200 construction projects employing 70,000 people. Words such as "unconscionable" and "indefensible" were being thrown around.

Rockefeller has been the most strenuous of the objectors to the House version of the FAA stopgap, saying that the chamber's members have not negotiated in good faith on a broader bill to authorize the agency's funding for several years. It was clear that the talks were over on Tuesday evening when he issued a scathing statement blaming Republicans for refusing to allow a "clean" stopgap to clear the Senate.

On Wednesday, Boehner's office issued a strikingly similar statement saying that Democrats had chosen to play politics with the issue by refusing to pass the House bill.

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

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

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

    Download
  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

    Download

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