The U.S. Senate has passed a three-month extension of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) authority, extending it until March 8, 2024. This move came just before the Senate wrapped up the majority of its business for the year, with lawmakers departing for the Christmas break.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced that Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) had lifted his hold on the temporary reauthorization, allowing it to pass via unanimous consent. This decision followed a blockage by Senator Bennet on December 15, aimed at forcing more discussion on a border deal and funding for Ukraine.
U.S. Senator Jack Reed, a senior member of the Appropriations subcommittee that oversees FAA funding, supported the extension. He stated, “This is a needed short-term fix. I am committed to working on a comprehensive, multi-year FAA reauthorization that enhances aviation safety, improves airline service, and provides better consumer protections for passengers. U.S. airports and airlines have seen substantial growth, and we must ensure we continue to invest in the technology, facilities, and infrastructure to handle it.”
Earlier this month, the U.S. House of Representatives had approved the short-term FAA reauthorization bill, known as H.R. 6503, the Airport and Airway Extension Act of 2023, Part II. With the Senate’s approval, the bill now goes to President Biden to be signed into law.
The FAA’s current authorization dates back to 2018, when the most recent long-term reauthorization bill was passed. This short-term extension is seen as a necessary step towards a more comprehensive, multi-year reauthorization, currently stalled in the Senate.