US House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee chairman Peter DeFazio, along with Aviation Subcommittee chair Rick Larsen, congressman Brian Fitzpatrick and congressman Bob Gibbs, reintroduced the Aviation Funding Stability Act of 2021. The National Air Transportation Association (NATA) supports this bipartisan legislation authorising the FAA to draw from the balance of the Airport and Airway Trust Fund in the event of a government shutdown and allowing the entire agency to operate at current funding levels.
During the longest shutdown in US history (2018-2019), essential government workers, including air traffic controllers and TSA agents, were required to work without pay. Nearly 18,000 FAA workers involved in a range of activities, from airmen certification to safety inspections to NextGen deployment, were furloughed, leaving countless aviation businesses and travellers to face serious challenges and uncertainty. The original bill was introduced in February 2019 in response to the far-reaching impacts of such a shutdown.
“NATA lends its strong support to the Aviation Funding Stability Act of 2021, helping to preserve the jobs, economic growth, businesses and overall health of our industry that are at stake when the government is shuttered,” states NATA president and CEO Timothy Obitts. “The 2018-2019 shutdown illustrated how the safety-critical nature of the FAA justifies the agency's exemption from the effects of future shutdowns. We thank representatives DeFazio, Larsen, Fitzpatrick and Gibbs for their leadership in introducing legislation supporting the continuity of vital agency safety and operational functions.”