House Passes Appropriations Conference Report with Age Limit Change
ALPA-supported language included.

November 15, 2007 - The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Transportation Appropriations conference report yesterday by a vote of 270 to 147. House and Senate conferees had approved the conference report on the bill, H.R.3074, on November 8. In addition to setting spending on transportation and other programs, the final conference report includes language to raise the upper age limit for airline pilots to 65—the language is consistent with ALPA’s Executive Board resolution adopted on May 23.

The job of the November 8 conference was to work out the differences between the House-passed and the Senate-passed Transportation Appropriations bills. Language to change the upper age limit was part of the Senate bill in the form of the Stevens amendment, which the Senate unanimously approved on September 12. The House bill passed on July 24 did not include any language pertaining to the upper age limit; however, the House and Senate conferees agreed to add the Stevens amendment to the final conference report. The Stevens amendment is the same as the ALPA-endorsed Oberstar language in the House FAA reauthorization bill. The Senate is expected to pass the appropriations bill conference report, perhaps before the end of the week.

The conference report on the appropriations bill is $3 billion more than the administration requested, which has prompted a veto threat. Although the Senate’s September 12 vote on the Transportation Appropriations bill comfortably exceeded the two-thirds majority needed to override a veto, the 268-153 House vote taken on July 24 did not. If the two houses cannot override a veto, the White House and the conferees will probably begin negotiations at some point to seek agreement on transportation appropriations legislation before the end of the year.