On March 18, the House of Representatives passed a six-month authorization extension (through September 30, 2009) of FAA programs and taxes by voice vote. This bill, H.R. 1512, was needed due to the fact that the excise taxes and the FAA's authority to spend money in the Airport and Airway Trust Fund expires on March 31. Besides extending excise taxes, H.R. 1512 will authorize appropriations for FAA programs consistent with those found in the FY 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act. In addition, it will allow Congress to continue working on a new, four-year, $70 billion authorization bill for the agency.
House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Oberstar expressed frustration that yet another extension is needed. He urged moving forward on a multi-year authorization bill.
On March 19, H.R. 1512 passed by voice vote in the Senate and now awaits President Obama's signature. While Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Rockefeller supports the six month extension, it is unclear as to when the Committee may move forward with its multi-year FAA proposal.