Jerry Moran, R-KA, took the floor this afternoon to urge House lawmakers to act on Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization through 2017. The Senate’s FAA Reauthorization bill was passed in mid-April by a 95-3 margin.
Mr. Moran emphasized the importance general aviation has for his state’s economy. Wichita is a hub for general aviation parts manufacturing.
In addition to the large share of the Kansas economy represented by aviation manufacturing, Mr. Moran mentioned the benefits the state reaped from it being able to have those parts reach markets through their airports.
If the House doesn’t act on the Senate reauthorization by July 15th, when last year’s FAA authorization expires, it will likely pass a stopgap measure that funds the agency for another 18 months under the same terms as the last reauthorization.
Mr. Moran warned against the instability that funding the FAA in that manner would cause for Kansas aviation.
“Do not allow us to get into this position again in which we would have a series of extensions,” he said. He also pointed out that an extension would not include the reforms contained in the Senate package.
These reforms include the fruits of long committee debate and, most significantly, development of standards by the National Institute of Standards and Technology with the FAA for drone aircraft.
Included in these reforms are directions for the Department of Transportation to “issue guidance for the operation of public drones,” and the creation of a position in the FAA called the Senior Advisor for Unmannned Aircraft Systems Integration.
Blocking action on House action, according to Mr. Moran, is a proposal floated as part of the legislation to privatize the National Air Traffic Control system. He called such a proposal “dubious,” and reported that conversations he has had with house colleagues have made clear to him that such a proposal would not have the necessary votes to pass.
–by Marlon J. Ettinger