Senator Lankford On The Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act

The reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration typically happens every five years. Congress has already extended the current authorization several times -- it was initially due to expire at the end of FY 2023 -- but the new expiration date is May 10 and Senate leadership would prefer not to have to do another extension, leaving precious few days to get the job done.

Friday, May 3rd 2024, 6:14 pm



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Legislation with tremendous importance, both to Oklahoma and to the flying public, as a whole, is experiencing some moderate turbulence on Capitol Hill.

The reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration typically happens every five years. Congress has already extended the current authorization several times -- it was initially due to expire at the end of FY 2023 -- but the new expiration date is May 10 and Senate leadership would prefer not to have to do another extension, leaving precious few days to get the job done.

"It's important we actually get the FAA bill done," said Oklahoma Senator James Lankford on the Senate floor this week.

Senator Lankford was intent on driving home the importance of the FAA and, specifically, the work that's done at FAA facilities like the Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center in Oklahoma City.

"I would safely say to everybody," Lankford (R-OK) went on, "that if you've been on a flight lately and it took off and landed safely, you can thank the folks in Oklahoma City for that."

What Lankford is referring to is the training of air traffic controllers that takes place at MMAC, as well asthe work that takes place at the Civil Air Space Medical Institute, the occupational health wing for the FAA.

"They conduct all the research and the studies on the human element of flight there," said Lankford. "That's safety for pilots, flight attendants, passengers, how to be able to handle the pressurization, all those things."

The bipartisan reauthorization bill would provide the FAA $105 billion from FY 2024 through FY 2028 and aims to erase the current shortage of 3,000 air traffic controllers by setting new hiring targets and expanding access to training.

Where things could get bumpy is in handling the numerous demands for amendments. It's not clear which proposals will get votes, but they include restricting TSA's use of facial recognition technology in airport screenings and to codify the administration's recently announced policy on airline refunds.

"There are a lot of aspects of this bill that prepares us for the future of aviation and continues to be able to make our airspace the safest airspace in the world," said Lankford. "Let's keep it that way."

This looks to be the last 'must-pass' bill on Congress's plate until the end of September. The Senate returns to work Tuesday.

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