GA Update: Second Session of 117th Congress Convenes and Review of 2021
The second session of the 117th Congress convened last week in Washington, D.C.
Last year, Congress passed or considered several bills that directly affect NATCA members. Most notably, the bipartisan infrastructure bill was signed into law. This bill includes $5 billion for air traffic control upgrades and represents a major victory for our Union and our legislative activists around the country.
Here are a few more NATCA legislative achievements from 2021:
- House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure (T&I) passed H.R. 4042, the Aviation Funding Stability Act of 2021. This legislation protects the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) from future government shutdowns. It passed 58-5 in the House T&I Committee.
- CONTRACT Act passed key Senate committee: S. 419, the Continuity for Operators with Necessary Training Required for ATC Contract Towers (CONTRACT) Act of 2021, fixes the annuity penalty for retired controllers at federal contract towers. It was passed in the Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee by a unanimous vote.
- Advanced Aviation Mobility Coordination and Leadership Act passed in the House of Representatives: This legislation creates a federal working group with Department of Transportation, FAA, and other stakeholders on new entrants to the National Airspace System. A NATCA amendment was included in this legislation, which ensured NATCA has a critical voice at the table. The legislation passed the full House by a 383-41 vote.
- NATCA defeated anti-labor amendments: During consideration of the fiscal year (FY) 2022 appropriations bills, the House considered over 200 amendments on the floor. Two of these amendments were anti-labor and would have restricted the ability of union members to collaborate and meet with agency officials using official time. NATCA immediately engaged key House members and staff on the Appropriations Committee, T&I Committee, Oversight & Reform Committee, as well as leadership offices, to express NATCA’s strong opposition. The anti-labor amendments were defeated on the House floor.
Looking ahead, Congress has a lot on its “to-do” list, including finalizing fiscal year 2022 appropriations and the FAA budget (funding is set to expire on Feb. 18). Congressional leadership has signaled it will attempt to pass voting rights legislation, as well as President Biden’s top priority, the Build Back Better Act. NATCA’s Government Affairs Department also expects initial discussions about the next FAA reauthorization bill which will begin later this year. Given that the midterm elections are quickly approaching, we anticipate an action-packed year as lawmakers look to tout their legislative accomplishments to voters who are looking for leadership from their elected officials on Capitol Hill.
As 2022 gets underway, NATCA will continue to be at the table as Congress navigates a diverse legislative agenda and cultivates relationships on both sides of the aisle to preserve our “NATCA Majority.”