by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Republicans are punting on the big legislative items on its to-do list this month because they lack agreement to pass anything but short-term extensions of critical federal programs that are set to expire at the end of the month.
Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee Chairman John Thune, R-S.D., said it is likely lawmakers will be forced to pass a short-term extension of the Federal Aviation Administration, which runs out of authorization at the end of the month.
The move would mean delaying plans to put in place significant reforms and consumer protections that are part of major legislation overhauling the FAA.
“My sense is based on our calendar and based on where the House is, that it is pretty unavoidable at this point that we wouldn’t do some sort of an extension,” Thune said. “Six months would be about what I would be shooting at.”
The FAA bill is one of several major measures Congress has put on hold by simply voting for short term extensions.
Lawmakers last week voted to extend government funding for three months rather than pass a full fiscal 2018 spending bill, and that bill included another punt on the National Flood Insurance program which was set to expire on Sept. 30.