The seemingly endless FAA reauthorization process looks like it will continue for yet another month. At the beginning of May, it looked like the bill had finally generated enough momentum for easy passage in the Senate. The House had already dropped its controversial plans for privatization of air traffic control and passed their version of the Reauthorization Act by a wide margin. The Senate put their version of the bill on the calendar on May 8, and it appeared to be on an easy road to passage in June.

Unfortunately, the Senate never got around to taking up the measure. According to a recent report, it appears that the Senate will now delay taking up their version of the bill until the August work period. Regrettably, sensing that this is a “must pass” bill, the Senate version is already starting to attract non-aviation provisions, such as controversial changes to the meal-and-rest-break rules for truck drivers. To make matters even more complicated, Politico has reported that Senate Minority leader Schumer has been working to attach the AV START bill, which seeks to make it easier to use autonomous cars, to the FAA Reauthorization. This may further delay matters and also will make it harder for the House and Senate conferees to reconcile the final version to send to the President.