Today, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio (Ore.) and Aviation Subcommittee Chairman Rick Larsen (Wash.) introduced a bill - The Aviation Funding Stability Act of 2019 (H.R. 1108) - that would authorize the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to continue to draw from the Airport and Airway Trust Fund (AATF) during a government shutdown. NATCA worked closely with the Chairman and his staff as they developed the bill and it meets our Four Core Principles for Reform.
NATCA reviewed every word and detail of the bill, and after extremely careful review, consideration, and deliberation, we have decided to give it our strong support.
For years, our Union has been focused on providing a stable, predictable funding stream to operate and improve the National Airspace System (NAS). To get NATCA's support, any ATC reform legislation must, at a minimum, meet our Four Core Principles:
* Protect the men and women who ensure the safety and efficiency of the NAS in their employment relationship, including their rights and benefits;
* Maintain safety and efficiency as the top priorities;
* Provide a stable, predictable funding stream that adequately supports air traffic control services, staffing, hiring and training, long-term modernization, preventative maintenance, and ongoing modernization of the physical infrastructure; and
* Ensure continued service to all segments of our nation's diverse aviation community.
This bill would ensure that our FAA-employed members would never again have to work without pay or be furloughed due to a government shutdown. It would also ensure that our Federal Contract Tower-employed members would never face the risk of layoff or facility closure during a government shutdown.
It would ensure that the FAA could continue to meet its mission by maintaining the safety and efficiency of the NAS during a government shutdown. All projects, programs, and activities that were previously funded would continue to be funded out of the AATF, until a new appropriations bill or a continuing resolution is signed into law. This would prevent future government shutdowns from forcing FAA to furlough aviation safety professionals, reducing the safety of the system. It would also prevent government shutdowns from delaying the implementation of critical safety programs.
The proposal would ensure a stable, predicable funding stream for the FAA. All four of FAA's budget lines are protected: operations (Ops); facilities and equipment (F&E); research, engineering and development (RE&D); and grants-in-aid to airports (AIP). The FAA would not have to stop hiring nor would it suspend training.
The bill would protect our dynamic aviation system that provides services to all segments of the aviation community, from commercial passenger carriers and cargo haulers to business jets and to general aviation, and from the major airports to those in small communities and rural America. It would also ensure that a government shutdown would not affect the integration of new users into the NAS.
We applaud the hard work that the Committee has done to develop this proposal.
Today is only the beginning stage of a legislative process with many steps. As you all know, the language in proposed legislation is often changed or amended throughout the legislative process. We will vigorously support this legislation and work to ensure that any proposed changes continue to meet our core principles.
Please be aware that this legislation wouldn't become law in time to protect our members and the NAS in the event of another shutdown should the current three-week continuing resolution expire on Feb. 15 without new funding in place. NATCA continues to lobby Congress and the Administration to prevent another shutdown. We will keep you informed on all developments as the discussion progresses.