Carper Statement on Passage of FAA Bill

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Carper, top Democrat on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, issued the following statement after voting to approve legislation to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) through the 2017 fiscal year.

“The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has a critical mission to maintain the safety and efficiency our aviation system, and to keep travelers and cargo on the move across our skies. Although this 14-month extension is only a short-term solution, I’m pleased that the House and Senate have come together to approve a bipartisan bill that keeps the FAA open for business and includes several new provisions to enhance consumer protections and strengthen security at our airports.

“Recent international tragedies, including the attacks at airports in Brussels and Istanbul, have reminded Americans that we must redouble our efforts to secure our country’s points of travel. I’m pleased that this bill includes important and commonsense security measures that will deter bad actors and give law enforcement officials more tools to keep Americans safe. Bipartisan amendments included in the final package will bolster security at airports and transit hubs by authorizing TSA to double the number of teams of federal agents with bomb-sniffing dogs, explicitly authorize the use of grant dollars for critical active shooter training, and improve security in areas of our airports and train stations before the checkpoint. The final bill also includes provisions to address potential insider threats to aviation security, including improving vetting of airport workers with access to sensitive areas.

“I am disappointed, however, that this bill did not correct a drafting error in last year’s clean energy tax extension package. For months, there has been a bipartisan agreement to correct a drafting error that resulted in the long-term extension of the investment tax credits for solar energy, but not for several other advanced energy technologies like stationary fuel cells. An extension of these tax credits is critical to letting these U.S.-made industries continue their growth in Delaware and across America, but yet another opportunity to make good on this promise has come and gone with the passage of this bill. I am optimistic that my colleagues on both sides of the aisle recognize we must fix this mistake, and it’s my sincere hope that we do so quickly upon our return to Washington in September. ”