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Predictable Funding

Predictable Funding

H.R. 1108 and S. 762, the Aviation Funding Stability Act of 2019

(Updated Dec. 2019)

If enacted, this legislation would ensure that the FAA continues to fully operate, without interruption, in the event of a government shutdown. H.R. 1108 was introduced by Reps. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and Rick Larsen, D-Wash., Chairman of the Aviation Subcommittee. In the Senate, S. 762 was introduced by Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan.

Users of the National Airspace System continued to pay taxes and fees into the Airport and Airway Trust Fund during the 35-day government shutdown in January 2019 in the form of ticket, fuel, and other excise taxes. Currently, the Trust Fund has an approximately $6 billion uncommitted balance, but the FAA was not authorized under current law to fund operations out of the Trust Fund during the shutdown. The Aviation Funding Stability Act of 2019 would authorize the FAA to continue to draw from the Trust Fund in the event of a future government shutdown due to a lapse in appropriations, ensuring the FAA can continue to carry out its mission.

How This Issue Affects NATCA Members

The Aviation Funding Stability Act of 2019 (H.R. 1108 and S. 762) would ensure that the FAA could continue to carry out its mission during a government shutdown. All projects, programs, and activities that were previously funded would continue to be funded out of the Trust Fund until a new funding bill is signed into law. This would prevent the FAA from furloughing thousands of aviation safety professionals and requiring air traffic controllers and others to work without pay during future government shutdowns.

The U.S. National Airspace System Must Have a Stable, Predictable Funding Stream

(Updated Dec. 2019)

NATCA believes that the most serious challenge facing the FAA and our National Airspace System (NAS) today is the absence of a stable, predictable funding stream. The most recent illustration of this unstable, unpredictable funding stream occurred from Dec. 22, 2018-Jan. 25, 2019 when the longest federal government shutdown in U.S. history ended after 35 days. That shutdown was tremendously harmful because it eroded the layers of critical elements necessary to support and maintain the safety of the NAS.

Every time the government is shut down, or brought to the brink of a shutdown, it has real consequences for real people. Stop-and-go funding negatively affects all aspects of the NAS. It undermines air traffic control services, staffing, hiring and training, long-term modernization projects, preventative maintenance, and ongoing modernization to the physical infrastructure. It also slows the hiring and training process, which exacerbates the current controller staffing crisis, while preventing the timely implementation of modernization projects and the integration of new users into the NAS. Without a stable, predictable funding stream, the FAA will be hard-pressed to maintain current capacity, let alone modernize the system and expand it for new users.

Every time the NAS is forced to endure another shutdown due to a threatened lapse in appropriations or FAA authorization, the United States is at risk of losing its status as the safest, most efficient airspace system in the world. We must not let this happen again and NATCA will continue to fight for a solution to this problem.

How This Issue Affects NATCA Members

Stop-and-go funding leads to a more stressful, less productive work environment for aviation safety professionals in a number of ways. Stop-and-go funding related to the expiration of funding or FAA authorization can result in government-wide and/or partial shutdowns. These shutdowns result in unpaid furloughs and/or uncertainty about when, or if, excepted members will be paid for continuing to perform their job duties.

The lack of a stable, predictable funding stream for the FAA also can lead to delays in the implementation of vital modernization technology, delays to the repair of current safety-critical equipment, and delays in hiring and training the next generation of controllers and aviation safety professionals.