It is hardly news that Chairman Bill Shuster was renamed to lead the Transportation & Infrastructure. He was not term limited and his committee was able to enact several major bills. So if his reappointment is not that notable, why is this event being reported here?
Passing legislation, that is actually getting through the House and Senate as well as being signed by the President, has been rare for the 113th Session and in a more elite category of significant bills enacted during that period. His leadership resulted in consensuses that carried the following laws through the abnormally contentious House, Senate and White House- Water Resources Reform and Development Act, the Highway and Transportation Funding Act, and the Sandy Recovery Improvement Act. That’s impressive.
Recently Aviation legislation suffered from inadequate momentum to gain the attention of the legislators. The last Reauthorization took 22 temporary Continuing Resolutions before a final passage. What’s different with Chairman Shuster as the leader of T&I committee?
First, the Chairman has already put the issue before his colleagues with several hearings over a year before the current statute is set to expire.
Second, at this week’s hearing, Mr. Shuster extended considerable courtesies to the Members of his Committee who will not be returning next session. The Minority Members were very warm in their response. That atmosphere will contribute towards a functioning body of R’s and D’s.
Third and perhaps foremost, the Republican Leadership MUST SHOW that they can govern when holding majorities in both buildings. As noted in Speaker Boehner comments on his reappointment of Shuster said: “Bill Shuster is an effective committee leader and legislator, and his ability to build consensus and get things done for the good of our country’s infrastructure and the American people will be critical to our work in Congress the next two years.” This statement signifies an expectation from the Man, who controls this body, to see an aviation bill next year. That means when the T&I Committee votes its FAA Reauthorization out, the Speaker will move it quickly onto the full House and then to the Senate.
Aviation was bipartisan for many years and based on that cooperative history, the FAA legislation moved as needed. All indications are that with Shuster as Chair, Reauthorization will be addressed and passed in a timely fashion.
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