September 25, 2015|ENO CENTER FOR TRANSPORTATION
The six-month extension of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) spending authorization and the Airport and Airway Trust Fund (AATF) taxation authority has been dropped from the most recent CR that the Senate will vote on this coming Monday. The revised CR can be read here.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) was facing a determined filibuster from a small number of GOP Senators if he were to move forward with a “clean” version of the CR that was blocked earlier today. In order to avoid a weekend session, McConnell was forced to pivot from the his original CR vehicle (H. J. Res. 61, a joint resolution that had been passed by the House and was pending in the Senate) to another vehicle, H. R. 719, which had been passed by the House and then amended by the Senate and then sent back by the House to the Senate again.
Moving to this new vehicle allows Monday’s vote to be the only procedural vote because the extra level of back-and-forth makes H.R. 719 an expedited or “privileged” vehicle. This means that in order to pass, H. R. 719 only needs one cloture vote in order for it to be sent back to the House, instead of the two cloture vote that H. J. Res. 61 would have been subject.
Whereas H. J. Res. 61 was a House-passed revenue bill, H. R. 719 is not. Since the FAA extension has to extend the authority for the AATF to continue to collect excise taxes, the FAA extension must ride on a revenue bill. Therefore, it was not possible for the FAA extension to be included in the version of H. R. 719 upon which the Senate will hold a cloture vote at 5:30 p.m. Monday.
In order for the programs funded by the AATF to avoid a partial shut down, an FAA extension will have to pass the House and the Senate in separate legislation by October 1.