House Overwhelmingly Passes Bill To Tackle Key Air Travel Issues

(Photo by Stefani Reynolds / AFP) (Photo by STEFANI REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

Frances Floresca Contributor
Font Size:

The House overwhelmingly passed legislation Wednesday that would reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for the next five years.

H.R. 3935, sponsored by Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chair Republican Missouri Rep. Sam Graves, passed with a 351-69 vote, according to the House clerk’s summary.

The bill would provide around $103 billion for the FAA over the next five years while the agency deals with passengers returning to the skies, according to Politico.

It would address refunds and reimbursement issues, funding to modernize airport infrastructure, hire more air traffic controllers, and provide more protections for the disabled passengers, according to the bill.

“This bipartisan legislation improves the safety of our system, our airport infrastructure, and the quality of service for passengers,” Chairman Graves said in a statement. “Not only that, this bill will make the FAA more efficient, encourage the safe adoption of new and innovative technologies, and address growing workforce shortages, from pilots and mechanics to air traffic controllers.”

Chairman Graves is also a general aviation pilot, according to the Kansas City Star.

Despite the overwhelming majority, the bill’s final passage did not come without issue.

One of these measures included an amendment from Republican Utah Rep. Burgess Owens that would have allowed seven roundtrip “in-and-beyond perimeter slots” for one of the Washington, D.C.’s airports, Ronald Reagan National Airport (DCA) split between the airlines servicing the Arlington-based airport, the Republican Cloakroom reported.

The amendment divided lawmakers according to geographic location instead of political ideology, according to The Hill.

The House voted the amendment down in a 229-205 vote, the Republican Cloakroom reported.

Gabriella Hoffman, a policy analyst and Young Voices regional leader from Northern Virginia, who wrote an opinion for the DC Journal about the matter, told the Daily Caller about her disappointment with the House rejecting the measure.

“As a frequent DCA flier, I’m disappointed to see the House of Representatives reject reasonable FAA reauthorization reforms, namely Rep. Burgess Owens’  compromise amendment to add seven long-haul flights to existing rules, to Reagan National’s archaic slot and perimeter rules,” she said.

She said Beltway visitors and residents would have benefited from the measure, as she argued it would reduce ticket prices. Hoffman told the Daily Caller she hopes the measure will be revisited, and DCA should not encourage “anti-competitive behavior by giving preferences to United and American while restricting Delta and Southwest from having more long-haul flights.”

The Daily Caller reached out to Rep. Owens’ office but did not respond in time for publication.