Overview

Last week, the House of Representatives approved: the “Innovators to Entrepreneurs Act of 2018” (H.R. 5086); the “Operation of the Federal Columbia River Power System” (H.R. 3144); the “Music Modernization Act” (H.R. 5447); the “Iran Human Rights and Hostage-Taking Accountability Act” (H.R. 4744); and the “FAA Reauthorization Act” (H.R. 4). On April 23, the Senate passed the “Northern Mariana Islands U.S. Workforce Authorization Act” (S. 2325). The Senate also voted to confirm the following nominations: Mike Pompeo to be Secretary of State; Richard Grenell to be Ambassador to Germany; and Rohit Chapra, Noah Joshua Phillips, Joseph Simons, Christine S. Wilson, and Rebecca Slaughter to be Federal Trade Commissioners.

The House and Senate are in recess this week through Monday, May 7.

House Approves FAA Reauthorization Legislation

On Friday, the House approved the “FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018” (H.R. 4) by a 393-13 vote. The legislation funds Federal Aviation Administration programs through 2023. The bill also:

  • Does not include the air traffic control privatization measures that were part of the original House FAA bill (R. 2997). AAMS opposed these privatization provisions.
  • Includes the provision that would require the separation of air medical service billing into aviation and “non-aviation” related services. AAMS opposes this language, included as Section 412, because it: (1) mandates a far-reaching, open-ended, burdensome, and duplicative new regulatory regime; and (2) would pierce the Airline Deregulation Act’s (ADA) preemption provision, inhibiting the delivery of life saving emergency transportation services across state lines.
  • Incorporates the “Disaster Recovery Reform Act”, legislation that is intended to improve disaster planning and mitigation efforts to reduce the future costs of events such as hurricanes, earthquakes, and floods.

During debate, the House adopted dozens of amendments, including proposals addressing safety, aircraft noise, unmanned aerial vehicles, airport development, and consumer rights. Among the amendments adopted by the House, was the amendment offered by Representative Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), which would implement “recommendations from the FAA’s Rotorcraft Occupant Protection Working Group to require all newly manufactured helicopters to meet certain standards to improve helicopter fuel system crash resistance within 18 months.”

Following passage of H.R. 4, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) touted the bill’s “important reforms that will help job creators lead in a competitive global marketplace for aviation, improve our airport infrastructure in large, small and rural communities, and improve air travel for millions of Americans.” Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Ranking Member Peter DeFazio (D-OR) declared that the “passage of the first long-term FAA reauthorization package since 2012 shows the great bipartisan work that can get done in the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.”  DeFazio also emphasized that H.R. 4 “provides more than five years of stability for the FAA, improves aviation safety, and safeguards critical consumer protection aspects of air travel.”

More information on H.R. 4:

Member Reminder

AAMS fully supports the “Ensuring Access to Air Ambulance Services Act” (H.R. 3378 and S. 2121) to address the shortfall in Medicare reimbursements for air medical services. AAMS encourages members to contact their Senators and Members of Congress to ask them to cosponsor the legislation.

The bills would reform the Medicare fee schedule for air ambulance services, starting with a cost reporting and analysis program conducted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), followed by: rebasing of air medical reimbursements in 2021; and implementation of a Value-Based Purchasing (VBP) Program beginning in 2024. The bill would enhance transparency by establishing cost and quality reporting requirements, as well as solve for a growing gap between Medicare payments and costs.

Representatives Jackie Walorski (R-IN), Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Bill Johnson (R-OH), Raul Ruiz (D-CA), and Pete Sessions (R-TX) introduced H.R. 3378. The following Members of Congress have cosponsored the bill since its introduction:

  • Tom Cole (R-OK);
  • Jason Smith (R-MO);
  • Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO);
  • David Loebsack (D-IA);
  • Mike Kelly (R-PA);
  • Kenny Marchant (R-TX);
  • Terri Sewell (D-AL);
  • Ed Perlmutter (D-CO);
  • Julia Brownley (D-CA);
  • Jacky Rosen (D-NV);
  • Ami Bera (D-CA);
  • Scott Tipton (R-CO);
  • Mike Coffman (R-CO);
  • Luke Messer (R-IN);
  • Filemon Vela (D-TX);
  • Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ);
  • Anna Eshoo (D-CA);
  • Martha McSally (R-AZ);
  • Jared Polis (D-CO);
  • Roger Williams (R-TX);
  • Doug LaMalfa (R-CA);
  • David Young (R-IA);
  • Tom Marino (R-PA);
  • Rodney Davis (R-IL);
  • Tom Reed (R-NY);
  • Elise Stefanik (R-NY);
  • Mark Takano (D-CA);
  • Vincente Gonzalez (D-TX);
  • Dina Titus (D-NV);
  • Diane Black (R-TN); and
  • Jim Banks (R-IN).

Senators Dean Heller (R-NV), Michael Bennet (D-CO), and Cory Gardner (R-CO), introduced the Senate version of the bill. Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Tim Scott (R-SC), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), and Todd Young (R-IN) are also cosponsors.

Additional information on the legislation, as well as on how to contact your Member of Congress and Senators: