Shuster Hopes to Move FAA Funding Before Infrastructure Bill

Says GOP votes could be sacrificed for bipartisan support

Elevator doors close on House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster, R-Pa., as he leaves the House Republican Conference meeting in the basement of the Capitol in 2015. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. — House Transportation Committee Chairman Bill Shuster said he intends to try to pass a long-term reauthorization of funding for the Federal Aviation Administration before an infrastructure package advances.

Shuster, who will take a lead role in negotiations on the infrastructure bill, also said he expects to lose some Republican support in order to bring Democrats on board and advance a bipartisan bill.

The comments came after a panel discussion at the GOP retreat that included Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.

Shuster has long advocated for his own legislation to privatize air traffic control, a proposal that faces opposition from Democrats and some House and Senate Republicans.

“It’s still my goal to do something transformative. Again, I have some resistance in my own conference,” the Pennsylvania Republican said.

The current FAA funding ends on March 31, which could mean that Congress tries to advance a long-term funding bill for the administration in the same package.

“Sometimes these big bills get a lot of things on it and makes it easier,” Shuster said.

Republican leaders are hoping to advance an infrastructure bill on a bipartisan basis. Shuster, recognizing the difficulty in appeasing both Democrats and conservative Republicans in one package, said losing support from the latter may be necessary to entice the former.

“If we want to attract Democrats in the House we probably lose some Republican votes,” he told reporters.

Shuster also said lawmakers must address the upcoming shortfall in the Highway Trust Fund in order to advance an infrastructure bill.

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.