The House will consider proposals related to the treatment
of animals on commercial airlines, the 1,500-hour training rule for pilots and
long-distance domestic flying out of Washington Reagan National Airport as they
deliberate next week on a proposed 6-year funding extension for the FAA.
Congress has twice delayed FAA reauthorization in the past
year and now has a new deadline of Sept. 30 for a longer-term extension.
The body of the House bill is similar to the one put forward
by the chamber's transportation committee last year, excluding a defeated
measure that would have spun off U.S. air traffic control from the FAA to a nonprofit
board of aviation stakeholders.
House members offered numerous amendments to
be considered when the bill hits the floor for debate.
Among the proposed amendments are dueling measures from
representatives of Texas and Virginia related to Reagan National.
Under what are known as "perimeter rules," Congress must pass
legislation before long-haul routes further than
1,250 miles can be approved. Some exceptions are already in place, which
have led to routes from Reagan National to 10 cities beyond the perimeter,
including Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Texas Republican Rep. Henry Cuellar, whose district runs south
from the San Antonio area, has proposed an amendment to the FAA bill that would
allow for the Department of Transportation (DOT) to award up to four additional
beyond-the-perimeter exemptions to all airlines that already fly daily from
Reagan National. San Antonio has no air service to Reagan National.
Conversely, Virginia Republican Rep. Barbara Comstock, whose
constituents would have no reason to fly to Reagan National, has offered an
amendment that would forbid the DOT from offering further exemptions to the
Another amendment put forward by House members is a
response to the controversy that engulfed United in March when a dog after died
after a flight attendant instructed a passenger to place the animal in the
overhead bin. The amendment, put forward by Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.), would require
the DOT to establish industrywide standards for the treatment of animals
aboard airlines. It would also specifically ban the storage of animals in the
Another New York congressman, Republican Rep.Chris Collins,
has put forward an amendment that would forbid the DOT from modifying in any
way the rule requiring pilots to log 1,500 hours of flight time before being
eligible to co-pilot a commercial aircraft. It would negate proposals to ease
the threshold for pilot candidates who receive training from airlines
directly. Threshold reductions are
already in place for pilots with military backgrounds and those who get degrees
from college and university flight training programs.
New York's legislative delegation has been particularly
strong supporters of the 1,500-hour rule, which Congress passed in response to
the 2009 crash of Colgan Air Flight 3407 on approach to Buffalo. All 49
passengers were killed in the crash.