House Failure To Pass 6-Month FAA Extension Provokes Questions

September 25, 2017 -10:30 p.m.

The U.S. House of Representatives this evening failed to pass extending Federal Aviation Administration programs and Airport and Airway Trust Fund taxes and spending authority for six months. The vote was held under the expedited “suspension of the rules” procedure which requires a two-thirds vote for passage, and the roll call vote was only 245 yeas to 171 nays (59 percent of the vote) – instead of the minimum margin of at least 278 “yes” votes required under such circumstances.

The tally sheet for the vote indicated 219 Republicans and 26 Democrats in favor of the legislation and 8 Republicans and 163 Democrats against the legislation.

Under House rules, any member can offer any motion to suspend the rules and pass a bill on Monday, Tuesdays and Wednesday if recognized for that purpose by the Speaker. No advance notice is required. But there are collegial protocols that usually require the majority party to consult with the minority party leadership before doing anything like that (usually a day beforehand). If Republicans decide to split the non-controversial FAA part of the bill (or the non-controversial flood insurance part), those could conceivably get a two-thirds vote as early as tomorrow.

But if Republican leaders keep the FAA and flood insurance parts of the package tied to the partial health care extensions and the hurricane tax relief provisions, the package clearly won’t get a two-thirds vote in the House, so they would have to send it to the Rules Committee for a special rule to allow a majority vote to pass the package.

The Rules Committee has been told to be ready to meet on something FAA-related on Tuesday afternoon, but the details of what will be in the legislation are not yet clear.

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