A Capitol View
It’s been a whirlwind year advocating for aviation businesses on Capitol Hill. With FAA’s Congressional authorization due to expire and lack of permanent leadership at the Agency’s helm, few topics have garnered more attention thus far in the 118th Congress. And in an evenly divided legislature where each political party controls a single chamber by the slimmest of majorities, aviation stands out as an issue that unites more than it divides. In short, aviation just might be one of the brightest examples of bipartisan Congressional action in 2023—a year otherwise noted for its partisan rancor.
Several factors contribute to this, not the least of which is the vital role the entire aviation industry plays in our nation’s economic growth, stability, and quality of life. Our industry touches every Congressional district while transcending many of the philosophical, political, or regional differences that divide them. As aviation business advocates, NATA has the privilege of supporting member companies that connect communities large and small, create jobs, facilitate business development, provide essential services, and deliver safe transportation options to the traveling public. In many ways, it’s an easy story to tell.
Equally important are Congressional leaders who commit to a collaborative, bipartisan approach. This year, NATA honors Representatives Sam Graves (R, MO) and Rick Larsen (D, WA) for their extraordinary leadership of the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee and their diligent work on the Securing Growth and Robust Leadership in American Aviation Act, which passed the House of Representatives by an overwhelming majority on July 20. Throughout the FAA reauthorization process, they reviewed proposals from more than 1,500 aviation stakeholders, held public hearings on the critical issues at stake, and crafted comprehensive legislation to address current challenges and foster future innovation. You can read more about these two recipients of NATA’s Distinguished Public Service Award.
NATA’s approach on Capitol Hill is similar: to advocate for common-sense policies that advance the safety, security, sustainability, and success of aviation businesses by maintaining a healthy aviation ecosystem for all industry sectors and users. Our members are at the core of these efforts, guiding the Association’s positions through participation on our policy committees, contributing industry insight and expertise at NATA events, and communicating their unique needs and perspectives with elected officials. This year, as NATA combatted several detrimental proposals circulating on Capitol Hill, more than 50 NATA members met with over 25 Congressional offices to voice their concerns at NATA’s Day on the Hill. The results speak for themselves: just a few weeks later those proposals were defeated and the House passed a clean FAA bill.
Much remains to be accomplished in the coming months as we work toward enactment of comprehensive FAA reform and confirmation of an FAA Administrator—at press time, concerns about pilot training requirements, federal spending, and government shutdown had temporarily stalled progress—but NATA will continue to partner with Congress and other industry leaders on consensus policies to foster your business’s growth, innovation, and continued success.