WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) today released the following statement after voting in favor of the bipartisan Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act. This legislation reauthorizes Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) programs through September 2017.

“As our aviation industry adapts to growing and increasingly complex national security threats from all around the globe, the bipartisan Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act implements real reforms that put passengers first, by increasing airport security and improving the overall travel process.

“This bill contains provisions to keep our airports and the traveling public safe. In particular, it increases oversight to ensure airport employees are properly vetted and identified with security badges. Additionally, this legislation improves agency coordination, and requires TSA to assess security vulnerabilities. The Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act also includes consumer protections like refunding baggage fees if items are lost or delayed, and forcing airlines to use a uniform standard for disclosing airline fees that is prominently displayed and easy to read.

“Also included is my bipartisan measure to ensure airports – including in Iowa – aren’t disqualified from a particular grant solely because the airport provides a nominal lease to a military component. My proposal fosters a positive environment for negotiations to continue, in order to achieve a fair resolution that takes into consideration the perspectives of the airport boards, National Guard and U.S. Air Force.”

About the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act:

  • Provides for a $400 million increase to the Airport Improvement Program with available existing funds that Iowa airports rely on.
  • Addresses growing cybersecurity threats facing aviation and air navigation systems.
  • Enhances security for international flights bound for the U.S.
  • Expands enrollment in the TSA PreCheck program to help passengers move through security lines quickly and formalizes TSA procedures to allow parents to accompany their children through the airport screening process.
  • Improves airport security by improving airport worker vetting, agency coordination, and requiring TSA to assess security vulnerabilities.
  • Strengthens the mental health evaluations of commercial pilots.
  • Reauthorizes the Essential Air Service Program and the Small Community Air Service Development Program.
  • Directs airlines to bolster flight attendant training on how to identify and report incidents of human trafficking.
  • Requires airlines to allow a child under the age of 13 to be able to sit in a seat next to a family member over the age of 13 at no additional cost.
  • Requires airlines to provide a refund to the customer for their baggage if items are lost or delayed.
  • Creates a uniform standard for disclosing airline fees that is easier to read for consumers.

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