Two Amendments to FAA Reauthorization Act 2017 Pass
The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee approved two amendments to the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2017, along with three other bills, and three nominees.
The two amendments, authored by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) aim to improve transparency and security of the nation’s airspace. The first amendment would require the FAA to annually report the status of NextGen implementation at commercial service airports across the country. NextGen is new air traffic technology that improves air traffic efficiency by using GPS tracking instead of radar to monitor flights, resulting in fewer air traffic control problems.
The second amendment makes it unlawful to fly drones in a restricted airspace, such as near the White House. This amendment builds on existing law and was approved by the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee last year.
In addition to the two amendments, Sen. Johnson was able to include language in the bill to eliminate federal service fees for air shows, like the annual EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh.
“I’m pleased that proposals I offered to improve the transparency of NextGen implementation, protect restricted airspace from unauthorized drones, and reduce federal burdens placed on the EAA AirVenture and other aviation fly-ins were included in the bill the committee approved today,” Sen. Johnson said. “I’m confident that these common sense policies will advance the use of American airspace and hopeful that my colleagues in the Senate will move swiftly to consider the measure on the floor,” Johnson said.
Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.) provided the following statement on committee approval of the FAA reauthorization:
“This passenger-friendly aviation reform legislation improves safety and incorporates over 50 amendments offered by both committee Democrats and Republicans,” said Thune. “In preparing for the future of aviation, our committee has acted to continue advancing unmanned aircraft systems and other aviation innovations while offering airline passengers new protections following recent incidents.”
The three new bills are S.875, S. 1426, and S. 1393.
S. 875, To require the Comptroller General of the United States to conduct a study and submit a report on filing requirements under the Universal Service Fund programs, Sponsor: Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska).
S. 1426, United States Center for Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017, Sponsors: Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.).
S. 1393, Jobs for Our Heroes Act, Sponsors: Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.)
The three nominees subject to Senate confirmation by voice votes include Vice Admiral David P. Pekoske, of Maryland, to be Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security, Transportation Security Administration. Robert L. Sumwalt III, of South Carolina, to be a Member of the National Transportation Safety Board. Derek Kan, of California, to be Under Secretary of Transportation for Policy