House, Senate committee leaders approve FAA extension with provisions led by Curbelo, Davis

Leaders of the House of Representative and the Senate reached an agreement on Wednesday on an FAA extension that includes provisions led by U.S. Reps. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) and Rodney Davis (R-IL).

Members of the House Transportation Committee and the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation committee reached a bicameral, bipartisan agreement that would extend the FAA through September 2017 and make safety, security and timely improvements to the aviation system.

The measure includes Curbelo’s Air Traffic Controller Hiring Improvement Act, H.R. 5292, which would require the FAA to guarantee that College Training Initiative graduates, veterans and students of institutions that serve minorities be given priority for open controller position.

“This FAA reauthorization package works to ensure that our aviation system remains well-equipped, secure and safe for passengers and pilots alike,” Curbelo said. “It provides vital enhancements to the U.S. aviation system by strengthening security, expanding TSA PreCheck, and requiring the FAA to give Congress quarterly reports on the number of civil or criminal disturbances that occur at airports. The bill also requires the FAA to create new processes to identify and reduce unauthorized operations of unmanned aircraft vehicles around airports, increasing the safety of planes as they take off and land.”

U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA), the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, commended Curbelo’s leadership on the issue.

“The Curbelo proposal will improve and streamline the FAA’s process for hiring air traffic controllers, and provide the agency with a larger pool of high quality candidates,” Shuster said.

The Families Flying Together Act, H.R. 3334, introduced by Davis, which was also included in the extension, would require airlines to ensure that children younger than 13 years of age are seated adjacent to an adult or older child traveling with them.

“Traveling with young children can already be very stressful for parents and when you can’t sit together on a flight, it only makes this process more difficult,” Davis said. “All we’re asking is for airlines to do a better job of accommodating parents ahead of time so we can make flying a better experience for families and other passengers aboard. I think most airlines have the same goal. This provision is important to updating an industry that continues to see growth in family travel. While my first choice is a long-term bill that includes major reforms that I believe are necessary to improve safety and increase global competitiveness within our aviation system, I am glad this provision and other sensible reforms are included in this extension and I look forward to voting for it.”

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