WASHINGTON, DC — Representatives Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), and Jesús “Chuy” García (IL-04), member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and chair of CPC’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Task Force, issued the following statement on the passage of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2024: 

“We are pleased that this FAA reauthorization, which will now go to the President’s desk, includes two key CPC priorities that our caucus worked hard to attach in order to strengthen consumer rights and protect labor agreements.

“Airlines have long taken advantage of weak regulations to overbook and under-staff flights. Now, airlines will be required to refund a consumer when a flight is canceled or significantly delayed, and progressives fought to ensure that refunds are paid automatically. As passed, this bill now codifies the Biden Administration’s important final rule to shift the burden of initiating a refund from consumers onto the airlines. The Progressive Caucus advocated hard for this provision and also appreciates the advocacy and engagement of Senator Elizabeth Warren and CPC member and Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chair Nanette Barragán to ensure this language made it into the final bill. This reauthorization also directs air carriers to set reimbursement policies for the cost of hotels and meals in cases of mass cancellations. 

“The CPC also successfully advocated to remove a provision that would have raised the pilot retirement age, undermining hard-won labor agreements and compliance with international safety regulations. Increasing the number of pilots must be rooted in expanding diverse workforce development and talent pipelines, not sacrificing workers’ rights and safety. 

“We thank Ranking Member Rick Larsen, Chair Maria Cantwell, and Congressional Democratic leadership for working with us to secure these significant victories, and more, within this bipartisan compromise bill. We look forward to partnering with them to advance even bolder policies in the future to build a fairer, more sustainable, and resilient aviation system, including sweeping improvements in wages and benefits for airport service workers as outlined in the CPC-endorsed Good Jobs for Good Airports Act. We will keep fighting for legislation that improves the passenger experience, protects the environment, and empowers workers.” 

Recent polling by Data for Progress showed that the Biden Administration's automatic refund requirement, now codified in this bill, is overwhelmingly popular, with 84 percent of Americans supporting the policy, including 80 percent of Republicans. Only 18 percent of Americans agreed that passengers should have to proactively request a refund for delayed or canceled flights.