The Hill: GOP Senator to Hold Roundtable on Aviation Funding

Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) is planning to hold a roundtable discussion on the future of the nation’s aviation spending, as Congress approaches a deadline for renewing the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) funding.

The FAA bill, which includes funding for air traffic controllers, is scheduled to expire on Sept. 30.

Daines is scheduled to meet with “aviation stakeholders” on Thursday to discuss the upcoming deadline at Montana’s Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport.

Daines office said in a statement that “discussion will include the upcoming Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization and its impact on Montana’s aviation community.”

“Daines will hear from stakeholders on the various aviation programs vital to rural Montana, as well as proposals to modernize the state’s air traffic control system,” the GOP senator’s office said.

The FAA deadline has flown under the radar for most of the year, as lawmakers have focused on a separate highway funding measure, which initially had a May 31 deadline.

Lawmakers had promised to move to the FAA funding bill after the conclusion of the highway funding debate, but Congress is now expected to focus on highways upon returning to Washington next month, because lawmakers punted debate on a long-term surface transportation-funding bill to October before leaving for their August recess.

The FAA has been at the center of budget battles in Washington before. The agency’s last funding measure, in 2012, was passed following a string of more than 20 temporary extensions that resulted in a partial shutdown of the agency in 2011.

The FAA’s funding was also cut in the 2013 sequester, resulting in air traffic controller furloughs and flight delays, before Congress passed a quick fix to restore the spending.