Chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Peter DeFazio (D-OR) has applauded the House passage of four bills under the jurisdiction of the committee, including his bill, the Global Aircraft Maintenance Safety Improvement Act. Chair DeFazio also joined Rep. André Carson (D-IN) in applauding the passage of Carson’s bill, the National Center for the Advancement of Aviation Act of 2022.
“I am pleased my bill, the Global Aircraft Maintenance Safety Improvement Act, was passed in the House to close the gap between our safety standards and those of foreign repair stations. By ensuring a uniform standard of safety, no matter where an aircraft is repaired and maintained, we will make our skies safer,” Chair DeFazio said. “In addition, we must build and sustain our aviation workforce in order to further strengthen the U.S. aviation sector and remain world leaders—creating the National Center for the Advancement of Aviation will help us do just that. I applaud the work of Rep. André Carson who championed this bill. I look forward to the Senate approving both of these bills without delay.”
“The National Center for the Advancement of Aviation Act is a bipartisan, bicameral investment in the future of an essential industry for our country,” said Rep. Carson. “Our committee has worked for years to make American skies the safest in the world and maintain the highest standards of aviation excellence. By fostering better collaboration across all aviation sectors and improving safety and best practices, this bill will do just that. The aviation and aerospace industry supports over 11 million jobs and contributes more than $1.6 trillion a year to the national economy. The National Center for the Advancement of Aviation will help make this vital industry even more safe and vibrant for decades to come.”
H.R. 7321, Global Aircraft Maintenance Safety Improvement Act
U.S. airlines increasingly outsource heavy maintenance work to aeronautical repair stations outside the United States—including facilities in El Salvador, Mexico, and China. However, U.S. and foreign repair stations are not subject to identical safety standards. Under Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rules, workers at U.S. repair stations are subject to screening for substance abuse; workers at foreign repair stations are not. Workers at U.S. repair stations are subject to background investigations; no single FAA regulation explicitly requires such investigations of workers at foreign facilities.
The Global Aircraft Maintenance Safety Improvement Act, originally introduced by Chair DeFazio with 13 bipartisan cosponsors, will address weaknesses in the FAA’s application of safety rules to foreign repair stations by requiring annual unannounced inspections, mandating the reporting of mechanical issues and problems attributable to foreign repairs, compelling the agency to conduct required background checks of foreign repair station employees, and more.
H.R. 3482, National Center for the Advancement of Aviation Act
The U.S. aviation industry has experienced workforce challenges for the last several years. For instance, the Federal Aviation Administration predicts more than 50 percent of the current science and engineering workforce will soon hit retirement age, creating a need to develop the aviation workforce of the future as we approach this rising wave of new retirements.
H.R. 3482, introduced by Rep. André Carson, would help address these workforce issues by creating a “National Center for the Advancement of Aviation,” a federally chartered, independent entity to support and promote the civil aviation workforce. The bill would help develop a skilled and robust U.S. aviation workforce by funding scholarships, apprenticeships, aviation curriculum development, and other outreach efforts; serve as an educational repository for sharing information on workforce development and skills training; and provide a national independent forum to support collaboration among aviation stakeholders.
The Preventing PFAS Runoff at Airports Act was also passed. This bill, sponsored by Senator Gary Peters (D-MI), temporarily allows the FAA to cover 100% of the costs for airports to purchase and deploy equipment to test fire suppression systems that contain perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) without discharging such substances.
The House also passed H.R. 5461, SPEED Recovery Act. This bill, introduced by Ranking Member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Sam Graves (R-MO), increases to $1 million the threshold for what qualifies as a small project under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, thereby allowing more recovery projects to proceed under simplified procedures. The threshold must be reviewed every three years. In addition, the Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security must conduct an audit, and report to Congress, on whether there has been waste and abuse as a result of the change in the threshold.