February 9, 2024

Young Praises Commerce Committee Passage of FAA Reauthorization Focused on Improving Safety, Advancing Technology

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Todd Young (R-Ind.), a member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, praised committee passage of the bipartisan Senate Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act of 2023.

The legislation, which passed the Committee yesterday, includes several provisions to strengthen safety standards and oversight at the FAA and responds to safety concerns from recent aviation accidents and near-misses. The legislation now heads to the full Senate for consideration. 

“This bill contains many provisions important to the Hoosier aviation industry. I am pleased that it passed the Commerce Committee and urge the full Senate to pass this critical bill,” said Senator Young.

A number of Senator Young’s amendments and priorities were included in the bill:

  • Increasing global competitiveness for drones in the United States, to safely streamline the approvals process for beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) drone flights and bring the regulation of drones in the United States up to speed with current technologies.
  • Cutting red tape for drones, to modernize and bring standardization and clarity to the environmental review process for drones.
  • Remote identification of drones, to provide a “digital license plate” for drones to give law enforcement, security officials, and the general public necessary information about a nearby drone in order to help ensure operations are safe and secure. Senator Young’s amendment would require the FAA to review and report to Congress on whether drone manufacturers and operators can meet the intent of FAA’s remote identification rule through network-based remote identification within one year of enactment.
  • Prohibiting drones that pose a national security risk, an amendment that would prohibit the Department of Transportation from entering into a contract with or awarding a grant for the operation, procurement, or contracting of drones manufactured or assembled by the People’s Republic of China, the Russian Federation, or any covered foreign entity designated by the Secretary of Commerce.
  • Comprehensive plan for automated drone operations, an amendment that would direct the FAA to develop a plan for automated drone operations and submit a report to Congress. As the world enters the second century of aviation, maintaining America’s leadership edge in aviation requires leading the way in the safe application of automated and autonomous technologies.
  • Common sense flexibility for model aircraft enthusiasts, an amendment that would provide flexibility for model aircraft hobbyists to safely operate in uncontrolled airspace and allow them to secure faster approval for the establishment of fixed flying sites for people flying model aircraft in fields and backyards.
  • Protecting U.S. transportation infrastructure from Chinese espionage, an effort by Senators Young and Peters (D-Mich.) to prevent government grants from being used to subsidize the purchase of airport infrastructure like jet bridges from hostile governments.
  • Supporting aviation technology innovations, to direct the FAA to study new aviation fuels or fuel systems. This will ensure the U.S. maintains its competitive lead in the aviation sector and provide advancements in a wide range of technologies, from civil to defense.