House sends Senate 1-week FAA extension

The House approved a one-week extension of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) authority Wednesday, a short-term patch leadership brought to the floor as the Senate struggles to find a path forward on a five-year reauthorization bill ahead of Friday’s midnight deadline.

The chamber cleared the legislation in an 385-24-1 vote, sending it to the Senate for consideration. The bill kicks the reauthorization deadline to May 17.

House GOP leadership staged a last-minute vote on the measure Wednesday afternoon, as it became increasingly clear the Senate was not close to striking a time agreement to consider the five-year reauthorization bill ahead of Friday night’s deadline.

Senate negotiators for days have been unable to come to a consensus on what amendments should be voted on as part of the FAA reauthorization. The FAA reauthorization bill is the final must-pass measure on the docket until the fall, prompting lawmakers to try and tack their priorities on to the bill — both those that are related and unrelated to aviation and travel.

Leadership has expressed concerns about scheduling votes on some non-germane amendments, which would prompt others to object if their amendments did not make it through. The list of requested votes includes Sen. Josh Hawley’s (R-Mo.) amendment to extend federal benefits for victims of nuclear radiation and the Kids Online Safety Act.

Senate Minority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) on Wednesday said there had been “no headway” in discussions regarding the non-germane amendments, but said the short-term patch will allow senators to continue their work towards an agreement.

“It just gives us a little breathing room,” he said. “I think the goal has been to try and drive through and get a resolution out of the Senate yet this week, but at least now, if necessary, you know, it can be punted.”

Al Weaver contributed.

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