NATCA Bookshelf

National Office Week in Review: August 17, 2016

A publication of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association

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GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS DEPARTMENT CONGRESSIONAL SCHEDULE : Lawmakers have only a couple more weeks of recess before returning to Washington, D.C. , after Labor Day on Sept . 6. After the month - long session in September, Congress will then recess again for election season, so we are also looking ahead to a "lame - duck" Congress after the elections on Nov . 8. Government Affairs (GA) staff is laying the groundwork to address a Continuing Resolution (CR) and sequestration beyond the November elections. See b elow for more information. LAME DUCK CONGRESS : A "lame duck Congress" describes the period between the November elections and the beginning of the next Congressional session in January. We can expect Congress to be in a lame duck session for parts of Nov ember and December. It is important to remember that some lawmakers who return for this lame duck session will not be members of Congress when the 115th Congress is sworn - in in January. SPENDING BATTLES LIE AHEAD : Lawmakers' top priority in September will be to prevent a government shutdown. They are expected to use a stopgap measure, but nothing is certain at this point. While it is unlikely that Congress would entertain a government shutdown during an election year, there are no guarantees. In a new rep ort, the Congressional Budget Office increased its estimate of the deficit for Fiscal Year (FY) 2016. These warnings of a rising deficit could complicate efforts to craft a stopgap spending measure to avoid a government shutdown when the ne w fiscal year be gins on Oct. 1. It could lead to disagreements among lawmakers about the overall level of discretionary spending. Potential Paths Forward : Congress will likely delay the completion of FY 17 spending bills until next year, leaving government agencies in fi nancial limbo for a good part of the year. This is often the case during election years and the lame - duck sessions following those elections. One option would be to delay fiscal 2017 spending consideration until the new Congress and administration. This wo uld mean a short - term CR. Another option would be to pass an even shorter CR that would expire before the end of the calendar year. GA will keep you updated on the path forward. THUD Funding : The House and Senate Appropriations Committees have each passed their respective versions of the Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development (THUD) appropriations bills. The Senate THUD spending bill, if enacted, would provide $16.4 billion for the FAA, which is $131.6 million above the FY2016 enacted level. Specif ically, the Senate version would provide the FAA Operations account $9.9 billion ($54 million over the President's request), the F&E account $2.8 billion, and the Research, Engineering, and Development account $167.5 million. This is great news for NATCA, especially considering that other THUD programs received cuts. The House THUD spending bill would provide $16.3 billion for the FAA. Specifically, the bill would provide the marks NATCA advocated for --- $9.994 billion in the FAA Operations account, and $ 2.838 billion in the F&E account. It is unclear whether either chamber will consider a THUD measure when Congress returns after Labor Day. Background : As a reminder, there are 12 spending bills for both chambers to complete in order to fund the governme nt before FY17 starts on Oct. 1. Without that, a CR will need to be enacted to keep the government open. GA staff focuses on the THUD appropriations bill, which is the spending measure that provides funding to the FAA. GA staff has been continuously meeting with members of both the full House and Senate Appropriations Committees, as well as committee staff, to make sure they know the importance of sufficient funding for the FAA to NATCA members.

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