CRAMER: FAA Extension Bill Brings Safety, Security Reform
Click Here for Audio
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Congressman Kevin Cramer praised the passage of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization extension by the House of Representatives yesterday. H.R. 636 extends the authorization of the FAA’s programs and the taxes that will fund those programs through September 2017 at current funding levels.
The House and Senate have been negotiating a reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration. Faced with expiration on July 15, Cramer and his colleagues in the House of Representatives agreed to a 14-month extension to ensure critical functions will continue while the House and Senate work on the long-term authorization bill.
The FAA is the national aviation authority of the United States, with powers to regulate all aspects of American civil aviation. These include the construction and operation of airports, the management of air traffic, the certification of personnel and aircraft, and the protection of United States assets during the launch or reentry of commercial space vehicles.
“This bill ensures our nation’s aviation system will continue to run smoothly over the next 14 months, while including significant security reforms,” said Cramer. “Among the provisions important to North Dakota is the site authorization for Unmanned Aeriel Systems (UAS) through September 2019. I commend Senator Hoeven for his work on the bill in the Senate. I am confident the Senate will quickly pass this and get it to the President’s desk for his signature by end of the week.”
Highlights of the bill include:
• Streamlines processes for approval and interagency cooperation to deploy unmanned aircraft during emergencies, such as disaster responses and wildfires.
• Prohibits unmanned aircraft users from interfering with emergency response activities, including wildfire suppression, and raises civil penalties to not more than $20,000 for those found in violation.
• Creates new processes to detect, identify, and mitigate unauthorized operation of unmanned aircraft around airports and critical infrastructure.
• Streamlines and improves the air traffic controller hiring process and ensures the FAA can better address chronic controller shortages with experienced candidates.
• Requires the marking of certain towers to improve their visibility to low-flying aircraft and help prevent accidents.
• Directs the FAA to establish a comprehensive and strategic framework to identify and address cybersecurity risks to the aviation system.
• Strengthens mental health screening for pilots and ensures that pilots are sufficiently trained on manual flying skills and how to monitor cockpit automation systems..
• Requires training for flight attendants in recognizing and responding to potential victims of human trafficking.
• Strengthens security for foreign airports by requiring comprehensive security assessments for all overseas airports serving the United States and considers the level of information sharing and security capabilities of foreign airports.
• Authorizes capacity development, training, screening equipment donation, and cargo program certification for overseas airports to bolster the security standards for flights headed to the United States from high risk airports.
• Expands the TSA PreCheck program by directing TSA to partner with the private sector to develop enhanced enrollment and vetting methods. By developing and marketing this program, TSA can strengthen security by identifying trusted travelers, while also increasing operational efficiency of checkpoints by providing expedited screening to more passengers.