NATCA Bookshelf

National Office Week in Review: Dec. 9, 2015

A publication of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 3 of 24

members time to review a final Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 omnibus spending bill before voting on it. The short - term CR is expected to prov ide funding through the weekend of the 11th or at most through the following Friday. Numerous issues such as Syrian refugees, healthcare, and funding for Planned Parenthood have complicated discussions on government funding as negotiators have inched close r to the deadline. Omnibus vs. CR : A stopgap, known as a CR, would maintain current funding levels at the FAA but would only provide authority for projects already in existence. This would not allow the Agency to plan ahead and work on any new projects. I f negotiators are unable to settle partisan policy disputes, a CR would buy lawmakers extra time to reach a broader agreement. An omnibus is a type of spending bill that combines many of the smaller, regular appropriations bills into one larger, single bil l. By passing an omnibus versus a CR, the FAA would be given the opportunity to act on current priorities and have the ability to make changes to their budget lines. The Senate - passed Military Construction - Veterans Affairs (Mil - Con VA) FY 2016 spending bil l has been expected to serve as a "shell" for a larger omnibus bill, which would effectively combine appropriations bills and provide funding for the entire federal government. If lawmakers can settle some disputes but not others, they could resort to a me asure known as a "cromnibus," whi ch is part omnibus and part CR. Government shutdown still possible : Even though the President signed into law the broad deal that set budget levels for the next two years and lifted the debt ceiling until 2017, a government shutdown is still possible should Congress fail to pass a CR or omnibus appropriations package before December 11. With some members of Congress pushing for inclusion of controversial provisions in any spending bill, the path toward a final spending deal has been complicated. GA staff is preparing materials just in case the path changes and a government shutdown or partial government shutdown becomes likely. FAA LONG - TERM REAUTHORIZATION : The House and Senate passed the 5 - year highway conference report la st week prior to the December 4 deadline. Now that the highway bill is considered a done deal, committee members can focus on the pending FAA Reauthorization. As a reminder, FAA authority is temporarily extended through March 31, 2016 (via H.R. 3614, the A irport and Airway Extension Act of 2015). Chairman Shuster and Ranking Member DeFazio on the House Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee have made it clear that they only want one extension for the FAA this time around, which is the extension t hat we are now operating under until March. Senate Commerce Chairman John Thune has made it clear that the House will move first, and then the Senate will act on its own version. NATCA President Paul Rinaldi and EVP Trish Gilbert, along with GA staff, cont inue to work closely with House and Senate committee staff to discuss NATCA's priorities for the FAA reauthorization bill. SEQUESTRATION BACKGROUND : NATCA has long advocated for sequester relief. As you know, sequestration has been used as a tool to reduc e the federal budget, and in 2013, the measure drastically cut the FAA budget and caused furloughs at the FAA. The budget deal recently signed into law by President Obama provides sequestration relief by increasing discretionary spending by $80 billion abo ve sequester - level spending caps. While this is certainly helpful for NATCA, this simply kicks the can down the road for two years. If and when Congress passes an omnibus before the December 11 deadline, it will be up to the executive branch to figure out what the implications are for each agency and department. NATCA will continue to work with members of Congress and staff on the issue of sequestration. We continue to remind them of the affect sequestration had on the aviation system and our members in 201 3.

Articles in this issue

view archives of NATCA Bookshelf - National Office Week in Review: Dec. 9, 2015