Democratic Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado is causing a ruckus in the Senate by putting a hold on the short-term Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill, all in a bid to push for border security measures. Can you believe the audacity? The FAA reauthorization bill needs to be extended until March 8, or it will expire at the end of the year. But Senator Bennet is throwing a monkey wrench into the mix, insisting that senators complete negotiations on border security measures to pave the way for GOP support for aid to Ukraine and Israel.
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) December 14, 2023
Despite the impending recess at the end of the week, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer hinted at the Senate returning next week for votes, giving more time for negotiators to strike a deal while further delaying the passage of the short-term FAA extension.
There’s doubt whether the House will even take up the legislation by the end of the year. But Senator Bennet seems to think that shouldn’t affect the Senate’s work schedule.
Senator Ted Cruz, the ranking member of the Senate Commerce Committee, didn’t mince words in slamming Bennet’s objections, calling it irresponsible and bad for the safety agency’s ability to function effectively. Bennet fired back with a defensive stance, claiming he’s merely fulfilling the country’s obligations in the world.
The full FAA reauthorization bill is still held up in committee, with disagreements on changing pilot training requirements and allowing flight simulator training to count toward the required 1,500 hours of in-flight experience.
The House, which has its own version of the bill, butted heads over pilot retirement age policies and expanding the perimeter rule for the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. Industry leaders are fretting about the potential safety risks from the dysfunction in Congress, especially with over 130 million people expected to travel for the holidays this year.