The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA)—in ostensible keeping with its charter of “foster[ing] an environment that allows business aviation to thrive in the United States and around the world”—welcomed the release of a federal omnibus appropriations bill that includes several measures the organization maintains will promote a more robust aviation industry.
The 4,155 page, $1.7-trillion bill to fund the U.S. government for the fiscal year 2023—notwithstanding its gluts of pork, veritable circus of recklessly irresponsible “woke” spending, and the stone-cold fact that no member of Congress is physically capable of reading the monstrosity in its entirety before voting on it—is currently being debated on Capitol Hill by lawmakers sharply divided over its contents and the priorities they connote.
NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen remarked: “We commend House and Senate leadership and members for their work on this bill and their steadfast recognition of the importance of ensuring that aviation continues to be even more safe, secure, innovative, and sustainable than ever.”
The omnibus bill incorporates renewed affirmation of congressional support for flight privacy, including the touting of means by which aircraft operators may opt-out of having their movements tracked in real time by anyone with an internet connection, anywhere in the world, for whatever motive. That the bill grants the weight of law to Elon Musk’s recent and highly-publicized efforts to protect his own family’s right to flight privacy will doubtless go unacknowledged.
In addition, the omnibus bill includes the NBAA-supported Advanced Aviation Infrastructure Modernization Act (AAIM Act), which calls for U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) grants to assist state, local, and tribal governments and other entities in planning infrastructure to support Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) operations. The bill also includes $1.5-million to encourage people to eat outdoors in sunny Pasadena, California; $2-million for B360, a group that promotes dirt-bike culture in Baltimore; $500,000 for a skate park in Rhode Island; $4-million for “Soy-Enabled Rural Road Reconstruction” in Iowa; and $1.6-million for the Leahy Center in Vermont, named after Vermont’s Democrat Senator Patrick Leahy—the selfsame individual who requested the earmark.
The omnibus bill recognizes ongoing work by the FAA on AAM and encourages the agency to provide a transparent framework and requirements to stakeholders for the safe use of AAM in the future, and reiterates the agency’s commitment to complete the proposed special federal aviation regulation enabling the cryptic limited commercial operations and pilot licensing by 31 December 2024.
In addition to allocating another $45-billion to Ukraine—thereby bringing the total sum of U.S. dollars poured into a wholly avoidable, perilously upscalable war to a staggering $113-billion—the 2023 spending bill provides $68 million to efforts promoting reduced aircraft carbon emissions, including grants to spur increased production of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF), and funding for the FAA’s Continuous Lower Energy, Emissions, and Noise (CLEEN) program.
What’s more, the bill contains the NBAA-backed Promoting Service in Transportation Act (PSA), a measure intended to raise awareness of the career opportunities available in the aviation industry and foster diversity and inclusion by means of a series of targeted broadcast, digital, and print public-service announcements from the Department of Transportation. The bill also earmarks $139-million for DHS, DOJ, and DOL programs to house illegal migrants and orient them to the American way of life.
To fund discretionary airport improvement grants and projects, the omnibus bill provides the FAA $559-million more than the agency was allotted in 2022.
NBAA also applauded members of the House and Senate who removed language from the bill that would have limited the use of GI Bill benefits for flight training by military veterans who want to enter the aviation industry.
Finally—lacking mention of a renewed effort to move to a private, not-for-profit ATC network—the bill tacitly reaffirms the FAA’s authority over the national air traffic control (ATC) system.
The NBAA’s resounding endorsement of the 2023 federal spending bill graphically illustrates the schism by which the Western World is perilously, perhaps irreconcilably divided. In an era characterized by the struggles of working American families to bear-up under the weight of record inflation demonstrably attributable to reckless federal spending, Congress has doubled-down on progressive pork and self-aggrandizement—to the adulation of infinitesimal minorities and special-interest groups myopically pursuing ends displaced vast ideological distances from the common good.