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Mr. DORGAN. Mr. President, I am going to propound a unanimous consent request that will extend FAA authority until December 31 of this year. This is another extension. We have had extension after extension of the FAA Reauthorization Act, which expires, so we extend it.
Let me in 1 minute say we have worked on a bill that would reauthorize the FAA. It has many component parts dealing with safety and other issues. It deals with the modernization of our entire air traffic control system. The Europeans are going full steam, and we need to work on this for a wide range of reasons: safety in the skies, better environment, more direct flying routes, less time in the air, and a whole series of things. Yet this piece of legislation that represents the investment in airport infrastructure, modernization of our air traffic control system, and so many other things is continuing to be blocked, and it is a profound disappointment to me.
Senator Rockefeller and I and Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison and others have worked to write this legislation. It is bipartisan. It passed through the Commerce Committee, passed through the full Senate, and now we are trying to negotiate an agreement with the House. Someone said to me as I came in today, I understand FAA reauthorization is dead for this session. I said: That is not the case. Senator Rockefeller and I remain hopeful that between now and the end of the year we will be able to solve those remaining few points and get this done. It is critically important--very important--that we get this done.
So I make this unanimous consent request with the understanding that I am continuing to work on it, as is Senator Rockefeller and Senator Hutchison and many others to try to get the FAA reauthorization bill done through the House and the Senate and get it resolved.
Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the Senate proceed to the immediate consideration of Calendar No. 324, H.R. 4853.
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