'It Passed Overwhelmingly': FAA Reauthorization Passes With Ease, Heads To President For Signature

The United States House of Representatives easily passed a five-year, $105 billion reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration on Wednesday, sending it on to the president for his signature.

Wednesday, May 15th 2024, 6:19 pm



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The United States House of Representatives easily passed a five-year, $105 billion reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration on Wednesday, sending it on to the president for his signature.

Members of Oklahoma's delegation say the bill contains some big wins for Oklahoma.

The 'flight' of this reauthorization bill has definitely not been free of turbulence: four short-term extensions were needed, and a decision not to allow last-minute amendments. But, in the end, it came in for a very smooth landing.

"It passed overwhelmingly," said Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK3) in an interview Wednesday. "And very few things pass overwhelmingly in his place; that shows how important it was."

Frank Lucas, who as Science Committee Chair had jurisdiction over portions of the bill, says it is especially important to Oklahoma, home of the Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center

"6300 employees at that campus in Oklahoma City," explained Lucas. "Training the air traffic controllers there, they also do medical research, safety inspections, a myriad of things -- it is the jewel of the Federal Aviation Administration."

There was an effort led by members of the Texas delegation to move some of that work south of the Red River.

"We had to fight back on that," said Senator Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) in an interview Wednesday, "that was something we weren’t going to do."

"Which is why the Oklahoma delegation was very engaged and involved in making sure we were doing what we could to protect the FAA facility," added Rep. Stephanie Bice (R-OK5) in an interview Tuesday.

So, instead, air traffic control training in Oklahoma City will be expanded. The bill boosts the cutting-edge drone research being done at Oklahoma universities, increases infrastructure funding for the Lawton and Stillwater airports and allows the Choctaw Nation to continue its testing and development of commercial drones.

Lucas says it's good for Oklahoma and good for the nation.

"Anytime you improve the quality of the runways," said Lucas, "anytime you come up with better technology for air chef control interaction, better radars, better communication, the inspections on the planes, all of those kind of things, we’re all better off."

The House vote was 387-26. One of the no votes came from Oklahoma Representative Josh Brecheen (R-OK2). Brecheen had yet to put out a statement on his vote but has consistently voted against federal spending that he believes, under the Constitution, is not Congress's responsibility.

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