transportation

FAA Authorization Still Grounded in Senate
Congress could be looking at sixth straight extension as Sept. 30 deadline approaches

Los Angeles International Airport in March. Congress could be headed toward its sixth straight extension of FAA authorization if it fails to meet a Sept. 30 deadline. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee approved a bipartisan bill to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration in June of last year. But the measure’s proponents have struggled ever since to get it to the floor, even as another deadline approaches at the end of this month.

Congress could be headed toward its sixth straight extension of FAA authorization if both chambers can’t pass a yet-unfinished conference bill before Sept. 30. House leaders on the issue, who steered easy passage of their measure earlier this year, have blamed the other chamber, which hasn’t passed its own bill.

SSTs Could Fly Again as Congress Targets Supersonic Ban
Decades-old rule says commercial aircraft can’t exceed Mach 1. That could change

The prospect of opening up the U.S. to high-speed flights has prompted warnings about the fate of the Concorde — the world’s largest supersonic passenger jet, retired years ago amid restrictions on sonic booms. (Ian Waldie/Getty Images file photo)

The U.S. has banned domestic commercial supersonic aviation for four decades, but lawmakers could upend those restrictions in the coming weeks even as environmentalists and public health advocates warn that doing so could elevate pollution and climate damage from high speed aircraft.

Congress faces a Sept. 30 deadline to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration. A provision in the House-passed FAA reauthorization bill directs the agency to create federal and international “policies, regulations, and standards relating to the certification and safe and efficient operation of civil supersonic aircraft.”

Key Players in FAA Conference Negotiations
Committee leaders come with their own priorities for FAA reauthorization

House Transportation Chairman Bill Shuster, R-Pa., left, and ranking member Peter A. DeFazio, D-Ore., both want to do a long-term reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As the Sept. 30 deadline to renew Federal Aviation Administration programs approaches, members of both parties are working to reach a deal on a consensus bill that could be acceptable to both chambers.

The process has been slowed because the Senate did not pass its committee-approved bill. Negotiators in an informal conference committee don’t know how many of up to 90 amendments offered to the Senate measure could be in play or whether any senator will object to a final bill that doesn’t include his or her priorities.

Here Are All the Republicans Jockeying for Committee Leadership Positions (So Far)
Roughly half of the House committees will have new GOP leadership next year

Dozens of House Republicans are running for committee chairmanships that will be open in the next Congress, hoping to obtain gavels like the one pictured. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo.)

Roughly half of the House’s 21 committees will have new Republican leadership next year, creating several competitive races among colleagues looking to move up the ranks.

The majority of the openings come from retiring GOP chairmen, most of whom have reached the six-year limit Republicans place on their committee leaders.

Jeff Denham Claims He’ll Be Transportation Chair — But What About Sam Graves?
Both GOP lawmakers want to lead panel; Steering Committee will decide

Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Calif., said at an event Friday that he’s going to be the next Transportation Committee chairman, ignoring the other member running to head the Transportation and Infrastructure panel. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

California Rep. Jeff Denham told a local GOP women’s group Friday that he will be the next House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee chairman, ignoring the fact that he is not the only member running for the position, the Republicans are far from a lock to hold their majority and Denham himself faces a potentially competitive race. 

The panel’s current chair, Pennsylvania Rep. Bill Shuster, is retiring. Missouri Rep. Sam Graves and Denham are both running to replace him. The Republican Steering Committee, a panel of 30-some members primarily comprised of GOP leadership and regional representatives, selects committee leaders.

As Trump Looks to Outer Space, Senate Dems Put In a Word for Earth
They were there to hear about NASA’s ‘search for life,’ but Democrats wanted to talk about climate change

Space, Science and Competitiveness Subcommittee Chairman Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and ranking member Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., revealed differing visions for NASA’s science mission at a Wednesday hearing. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump may be known for flip-flopping on issues, but he hasn’t backed away from his lofty goals in outer space. His push for a military “space force” and boots on the Red Planet has some in Congress trying to bring him back to Earth.

As senators heard Wednesday about NASA’s “search for life” in the galaxy, some Democrats wanted to talk about climate change.

Lynch Wants Oversight of ‘Questionable’ TSA Program
Congressman says ‘Quiet Skies’ has marshals tracking 200,000 passengers per year without probable cause

Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., said he wants a bipartisan investigation of the Transportation Security Administration's "Quiet Skies" program. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call).

Rep. Stephen Lynch wants Republicans to hold hearings on the Transportation Security Administration’s “Quiet Skies” program.

The Massachusetts Democrat sent a letter to House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy about the program, in which undercover air marshals reportedly monitor air travelers, MassLive reported. 

Remember Infrastructure? Bill Shuster Says He’s Got a New Plan
Trump administration’s earlier effort fell flat

Infrastructure is on the mind of House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Bill Shuster, R-Pa., as he prepares to leave Congress at the end of this session. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Missouri Lawmakers Want Congressional Action After Duck Boat Tragedy
Comes after 17 people died, including nine from the same family

Rep. Billy Long said, “We’ve got to do whatever we can to prevent anything similar to this happening” of the duck boat sinking in his district. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Billy Long wants congressional action after a duck boat sinking in his district killed 17 people.

“We’ve got to do whatever we can to prevent anything similar to this happening, if at all possible,” the Missouri Republican said.

Marc Short Creates Another Void in the White House
Trump has ‘highest turnover of top-tier staff of any recent president,’ professor says

Marc Short, White House legislative affairs director, outside the Senate Republican policy lunches in the Capitol in January. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

White House legislative affairs director Marc Short will leave his post this summer after helping President Donald Trump secure tax cuts, a Supreme Court justice, eliminate part of the Obama-era health law, open the Arctic for energy extraction, and nix a slew of federal regulations.

Short — with his signature shaved head — was the most visible Trump administration official on Capitol Hill, often chatting with reporters as he traversed the hallways going from meetings with leadership and rank-and-file members about the president’s legislative whims and demands. Affable yet firm, Short seemed eager to joust with reporters on cable news, the Hill and even under the blistering summer sun in the White House’s north driveway.