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Next Steps for FAA Reauthorization
October 3, 2023 by Jori Houck
A plane flying in the sky with the text 2023 FAA Reauthorization Accessibility Reforms Delayed

Over the weekend, Congress passed a short-term extension of government funding to avoid a federal government shutdown. The continuing resolution (CR) used to fund the government also extends the FAA’s legal authority to operate until December 31, 2023, to avoid disruption to air travel. Unfortunately, this will delay a full 2023 FAA reauthorization until later this year.

MDA and its advocates have been relentlessly advocating for the inclusion of provisions that would make air travel more accessible for those with disabilities, and particularly those who use wheelchairs, in this year’s FAA reauthorization. Earlier this year, the U.S. House passed a bill with transformative reforms, including:

  • Mandating regular training for airline and airport personnel who assist passengers with disabilities and their wheelchairs for flights
  • Continuing the effort to allow people to stay in their wheelchairs during flight
  • Strengthening enforcement of fines and penalties for wheelchair damage and injuries to passengers
  • Giving the disability community a seat at the table with the Department of Transportation

What's next?

By the new December 31st deadline, the Senate needs to complete and pass its FAA reauthorization bill, reconcile it with the House-passed version, and then send it to President Biden’s desk for approval. However, the timing of when the Senate will pass its version is still unclear. We will continue to learn more and share updates on the process!

Despite this temporary delay in the FAA reauthorization process, we will not stop fighting for accessible air travel. Stay tuned for ways that you can engage your Members of Congress to get us over the finish line! 

If you haven’t already, please visit MDA.org/AirTravel and make sure your voice is heard.

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