Johnson Comments on Passage of FAA Reauthorization Act

WASHINGTON — Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) praised the Senate’s passage of important security provisions Wednesday when it voted to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration.

The vote to concur in a bill that already passed the House, H.R. 636, authorizes the FAA’s operations through Sept. 30, 2017.

Johnson, who is chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, supported the bipartisan agreement and said this afterward:

“I am pleased the Senate voted to improve the overall safety of our domestic aviation system.  This bill improves oversight for Secure Identification Display Area badges, a step in the right direction. This will resolve significant airport security vulnerabilities that my committee heard about from the Transportation Security Administration, the Department of Homeland Security Office of the Inspector General, and the Government Accountability Office. 

“The bill also provides security equipment and training to officers serving at foreign airports to keep travelers safe. It will better position the Department of Homeland Security to identify high risk individuals before they depart for the United States. If implemented correctly, this can improve travelers’ experience and improve Americans’ security, priorities addressed also in the Preclearance Authorization Act of 2015 that my committee passed and that was signed into law in February.

“However, I am frustrated that this bill was not as good as the version that the Senate approved in April by a bipartisan vote of 95-3. That bill contained provisions left out of this final product that are important to Wisconsin, including language that would have ended the FAA’s ability to charge unfair fees for air traffic control at general aviation fly-ins like the Experimental Aircraft Association’s AirVenture.  I’m also disappointed that negotiators did not include a proposal to reform the certification process for airplane manufacturers and to protect smaller Wisconsin airports that operate federal contract towers.  These are priorities I will continue to pursue in the longer-term FAA reauthorization we will work on next year.

“My 31 years as a manufacturer taught me the value of continuous improvement. This bill was not perfect, but it is a step forward.”