WASHINGTON — The House of Representatives passed its reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Act today, legislation which oversees and regulates the airline industry and aviation technology, including for aviation labor standards and airline consumer protections.

Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement:

“The Federal Aviation Act reauthorization is an opportunity to improve working conditions and increase competition in an industry that is one of the primary engines of our economy. There are some important wins for labor and communities in this legislation, including provisions that would help protect flight crews from assault, prevent foreign airlines who undermine fair labor standards from operating in the U.S., provide postpartum flight crewmembers time to pump during flights, increase and improve mandatory pilot training, and strengthen safety standards. 

“However, MAGA Republicans once again warped the legislative process for a bipartisan bill into a means to their own partisan ends. In particular, they inserted an egregious provision to raise the pilot retirement age from age 65 to 67, a move opposed by both pilots associations and the Department of Transportation. This terrible policy puts us completely out of sync with our partners in Europe and would cause myriad issues for training, scheduling, and could even require reopening pilot contracts. The harmful amendment was only retained after the Republican majority blocked a bipartisan effort to remove it. Aviation policy should be determined by what is best for the workers and consumers, not pandering to MAGA Republicans. The Republican majority also denied debates and votes on critical amendments offered by Progressive Caucus members to advance strong, binding policies that would protect the environment, public safety, airport service workers, and customers’ rights and competition, and were also supported by the Biden administration. 

“We strongly urge our Senate colleagues to consider incorporating these policies and strip the provision raising the pilot retirement age in order to get a strong vote in the House upon final passage and to pass the best version of this reauthorization that the American people will have to live with for the next five years. Fair competition and opportunity are fundamental American values, and they should be reflected in the FAA.”

The CPC FAA Task Force, chaired by Representative Jesús G. “Chuy” García (IL-04), led a process to develop and coordinate a list of amendments from Caucus members to the reauthorization bill that would advance key progressive priorities including workers’ rights, pro-competition reforms, environmental protection, and public safety. Below are a sample of those amendments.

Select amendments that were adopted in the FAA reauthorization:

  • #51 Deluzio (PA), Garcia (IL): Directs GAO to conduct a report on the effect of airline mergers for consumers.

  • #102 Hoyle (OR), Van Orden (WI): Requires the FAA to develop and publish safety training materials for airport ground crew workers (including supervisory employees) to help prevent accidents involving aircraft engine ingestion and jet blast hazards.

  • #132 Brown (OH): Requires air carriers and foreign air carriers to provide complementary drinking water to all passengers on all domestic and international flights over 1 hour

  • #280 Espaillat (NY): Requires the FAA to consider vulnerabilities of in-flight wifi that may lead to the exposure of passenger data.

  • #17 Meng (NY), Norton (DC), Johnson (GA), Nadler (NY), Raskin (MD), Moulton (MA), Garcia (IL), Lieu (CA): Clarifies that as part of the Part 150 Noise Standard Update, feedback should be solicited from individuals living in overflight communities.

  • #310 Pressley (MA): Requires GAO study on transit access to airports 

  • #92 Garcia (IL): Include report language requesting the FAA assess performance of its passenger facility charges program and make recommendations for improvement.

Key amendments blocked from consideration in the House-passed bill:

  • #285 Escobar (TX): Remove the funding ceiling for small airport fund.

  • #12 Garamendi (CA), Deluzio (PA): Aligns the Buy America requirements for FAA-funded projects with the new government-wide “Build American, Buy America” requirements under Section 70914 of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

  • #16 Garamendi (CA), Lofgren (CA), Khanna (CA), Moulton (MA), Nadler (NY): Directs FAA to promulgate rule phasing out leaded aviation fuel if and when USEPA finalizes the October 2022 endangerment finding under the Clean Air Act.

  • #20 Garcia (IL): Directs USDOT to submit a report to Congress assessing the transparency of slot processes applied to airports.

  • #58 Garcia (IL): To establish a minimum wage and benefit standard for such airport service workers at large, medium, and small hub airports, and to prohibit these airports from accessing federal funds for airport development projects unless the airports certify that such airport service workers are paid no less than the higher of $15 per hour, the applicable state or local minimum wage and fringe benefits, or the prevailing wage and fringe benefits required under the Service Contract Act as established by the Department of Labor.

  • #186 Garcia (IL): Directs FAA to submit progress report on the transition of PFAS to fluorine free foam.

  • #278 Jayapal (WA), Garcia (IL): Requires airports to be available for public use on reasonable conditions and without unjust discrimination, require the FAA to prioritize future federal funding for airports maintaining some minimum level of available common use gate capacity, and require any airport serving 0.25 percent or more of the nation’s total annual enplanements and with more than 50 percent of passengers handled by one or two air carriers to submit any proposed lease, lease amendment, or lease extension to the FAA for advance approval.

  • #124 Brown (OH): Add additional union representation to the Federal Aerospace Management Advisory Council.

  • #75 Jacobs (CA): Inserts language to Sec. 1006, 1007, 1008, 1009 that the gives the Administrator authority to enforce a mask mandate in the case of an infectious disease emergency if the infectious disease emergency (1) is declared by the HHS Secretary under section 319 of the PHS Act to be a public health emergency; or (2) as determined by the Secretary, has significant potential to imminently occur and potential, on occurrence, to affect national security or the health and security of United States citizens, domestically or internationally

  • #140 Jayapal (WA): Bars the federal government from contracting with firms with two or more willful or repeated violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Establishes a $50,000 penalty for failing to disclose such violations to the contracting agency.

  • #172 Jayapal (WA): Prohibits the Federal Aviation Administration from engaging in investigations or lawsuits against states, counties or local jurisdictions that limit or ban the use or sale of leaded aviation fuel.

  • #194 Jayapal (WA): Prohibits the sale or use of leaded aviation gasoline at all airports receiving federal funds by no later than Dec. 31, 2030.

  • #220 Jayapal (WA): Airport Improvement Program funds shall be made eligible for any standalone projects designed to improve energy efficiency.

  • #289 Jayapal (WA): Directs carriers to provide, in the event of a departure delayed 3 hours or more due to a controllable flight disruption: rebooking; a meal or meal reimbursement; a hotel room and transportation to and from the hotel; and cash compensation in an amount commensurate with the inconvenience experienced to the individual.

  • #195 Jayapal (WA), Schakowsky (IL): Requires the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to ensure that any prime contractor or subcontractor at any level of a contract with the Federal Aviation Administration remains neutral with respect to efforts to form a labor organization. Furthermore, any prime contractor or subcontractor contracted with the FAA is required to commit not to hire employees to replace any employee engaged in any strike, picketing, or other concerted refusal to work, or to close a business in response to such a strike, picketing, or other refusal to work.

  • #109 Lofgren (CA), Khanna (CA), DeSaulnier (CA), Pettersen (CO), Garamendi (CA): Revises Sec. 431 to facilitate sale of unleaded aviation fuel.

  • #31 Porter (CA): Require the FAA Administrator to prohibit air carriers from reducing the size of passenger seats on air carriers until the Administrator issues a final rule establishing minimum dimensions for passenger seats, as required under section 577 of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 (PL 115-254).

  • #35 Porter (CA): Requires air carriers to provide passengers experiencing a controllable significant delay or cancellation with an alternative flight, including on another air carrier if necessary, and codifies the existing requirement for airlines to provide a full cash refund if the passenger chooses not to travel after experiencing such a delay or cancellation.

  • #169 Schakowsky (IL), Ocasio-Cortez (NY), Deluzio (PA): Strikes Section 701 to maintain existing requirements that the full price of airfare must be shown upfront to consumers online and in advertising.

  • #7 Bergman (MI), Garcia (IL), Fitzpatrick (PA), Ross (NC), Molinaro (NY), Kildee (MI), Ellzey (TX), Carson (IN), Ferguson (GA), Pascrell (NJ) : Strikes section 330 to prevent raising the retirement age of pilots from 65 to 67.

  • #154 Menendez (NJ), Garbarino (NY), Garamendi (CA): Requires that airlines submit Employee Assault Prevention and Response plans to TSA so that airport based employees such as ticket agents are also covered by these plans.

  • #270 Beyer (VA), Bacon (NE), DeSaulnier (CA): Provides paid leave to FAA employees. Allows military service to count towards the 12 month time requirement for FMLA eligibility.

  • #161 Cherfilus-McCormick (FL), Johnson (GA), Molinaro (NY), Tokuda (HI), Norton (DC), Watson Coleman (NJ), Chavez-DeRemer (OR), Fitzpatrick (PA), Allred (TX): Directs the FAA to establish an interagency task force with DHS and HHS to develop and implement a strategy to identify and advance research on communicable diseases during the entire air travel experience.

  • #261 Williams (GA), Lynch (MA), DelBene (WA): Sets standards and increases grant funding opportunities for projects that support the production and deployment of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) or the development of low-emission aviation technologies.

  • #141 Jayapal (WA): Requires DOT to set minimum and maximum cabin temperatures for the health and safety of crew passengers.

  • #143 Meng (NY): Directs the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to revise its regulations to decrease the threshold for the day-night average sound level that constitutes significant noise from 65 decibels to 60 decibels and adjust relative ranges of day-night average sound level accordingly. The Amendment also directs the FAA to issue a report on their plan to further lower the metric to 55 DNL.