A weekly update illustrating some of the ways that Helicopter Association International (HAI) is "Keeping the Rotors Turning" for our members.
Government Affairs – Cade Clark
The Government is back to work, at least until February 8. As part of the negotiations to reopen the government, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell agreed to bring up an immigration bill before this short Continuing Resolution (CR) expires. In addition to addressing the promised immigration bill, Congress is still negotiating on an omnibus that would set the budget for the remainder of the 2018 fiscal year. It is quite probable that another short-term CR will be needed beyond February 8.
This timeline does impact bills that HAI is working on, most notably the FAA reauthorization bill. Senator Thune, speaking to reporters, acknowledged that the Senate calendar, which is increasingly crowded, may delay action to reauthorize the FAA, requiring yet another extension. Senator Thune has also acknowledged that he will more than likely need to drop his provision to change the 1500-hour rule for first officers.
While ATC privatization is not included in the Senate bill it is included in the House FAA reauthorization language. There has been some talk that the privatization provision may be included in a forthcoming infrastructure bill. A draft infrastructure plan was "leaked" from the White House yesterday providing a broad overview of project funding. However, it does not specify the source of new revenue and it increases the states’ financial obligation to a project. These financial issues as well as a crowded congressional calendar are now causing some conversation as to if an infrastructure bill could even move forward.
HAI will continue to oppose ATC privatization and block its inclusion on any legislative vehicle.