The Airport and Airway Extension Act of 2017 (H.R. 3823)

Last night, I joined my colleagues from both sides of the aisle in voting against H.R. 3823 — a bill that would have extended the authorization for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and reauthorized a handful of programs set to expire at the end of this week.

While I support extending the FAA and reauthorizing several of these policies, other initiatives that are critical to the livelihood of our families and neighbors in El Paso were excluded from this bill. Without returning this legislation for further improvement, I am not confident Congress would have reauthorized these programs.

For example, H.R. 3823 left out reauthorizing the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and Community Health Centers only days before their funding is set to expire. The recent debate on health care in our country has only reinforced the need for quality, affordable care. That simply will not be possible without these two programs that so many children and families in El Paso rely on.

Additionally, the bill would have left victims of recent natural disasters — including Hurricane Harvey — without sufficient assistance as they work to recover and rebuild. The bill provided fewer tax breaks than those that were provided to victims of Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Rita, and Hurricane Wilma.

Ultimately, H.R. 3823 failed to pass the House. With less than a week remaining to reauthorize the FAA, CHIP, and Community Health Centers, I urge my colleagues to pass an improved version of this legislation that extends these programs while ensuring that we continue to aid those recovering from Harvey and other recent natural disasters.

The vote explanation above should have said the legislation provided fewer tax breaks than those provided after Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Rita, and Hurricane Wilma, not Hurricane Sandy. It has been corrected to reflect that change.