skip to main content

H.R. 4: FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018

Apr 27, 2018 at 11:38 a.m. ET. On Passage of the Bill in the House.

This was a vote to pass H.R. 4 (115th) in the House. The federal budget process occurs in two stages: appropriations, which set overall spending limits by agency or program, and authorizations, which direct how federal funds should (or should not) be used. Appropriation and authorization provisions are typically made for single fiscal years. A reauthorization bill like this one renews the authorizations of an expiring law.

H.R. 4 reauthorizes the Federal Aviation Administration for five years.

Title I removes obsolete restrictions on the Passenger Facility Charge (PFC) allowing airports to more effectively finance airport infrastructure projects that directly benefit the traveling public and expands the pilot program expediting the authorization of PFC to include all primary airports.

The title also makes Airport Improvement Program modifications by prohibiting the FAA from requiring airports to provide construction services or building space without compensation or reimbursement, ensuring small airports receiving FY11 AIP grant funds may complete the project at the originally intended cost share, expanding the number of states eligible to participate in the block grant program from 10 to 20, amending the FAA Contract Tower Programs surrounding the benefit/cost analysis, and requiring FAA to issue an informal public notice on any project-specific Buy America waiver.

Further, the title addresses community noise concerns by examining dispersal headings or other lateral track variations, studying the potential health impact of overflight noise, and reviewing the relationship between aircraft noise and its effect on communities surrounding airports.

Title II: FAA Safety Certification Reform

Title II improves the aircraft certification process by establishing a Safety Oversight and Certification Advisory Committee to provide the Secretary of Transportation guidance on issues related to safety certification and oversight programs and activities. In addition, the title directs the Secretary to establish performance objectives related to aircraft certification and establishes a new multidisciplinary expert review panel to survey and improve the FAA’s organization designation authorization program.

Further, the title requires the establishment of performance objectives for flight standards activities and achieving national goals and also establishes a task for on flight standards reform and establishes a Regional Consistency Communications Board. Title II directs the FAA to establish a safety workforce training strategy and requires a study to assess the workforce and training needs of the FAA’s Office of Aviation Safety. Finally, the title promotes US aerospace standards, products, and services abroad and encourages bilateral exchanges of safety oversight responsibilities.

Title III: Safety

Title III improves aviation safety by requiring the Administrator to establish an e-learning training pilot program to provide technical training for FAA personnel on the latest aviation technologies, processes, and procedures to keep them up to date. In addition, the Administrator is required to update the safety critical staffing model, create a global approach to improve aircraft tracking, and initiate a study of aircraft retrieval technologies for commercial aircraft used in extended overwater operations.

Further, the title requires FAA to review advanced cockpit displays, ensure a clear marking of towers, and review cabin evacuation procedures. The title also allows the Secretary to accept funds for additional safety and licensing needs, directs the Administrator to review existing regulations on emergency medical equipment, and directs the Administrator to revise the final rule on flight attendant duty period limitations and rest requirements. The title also requires the installation of a secondary cockpit barrier on newly-manufactured passenger aircraft within one year of enactment.

Further, the title establishes processes to accelerate implementation of a low-altitude unmanned aircraft system traffic management system and expedite deployment of commercial UAS by creating a risk-based permitting process. The Department’s Inspector General is directed to assess the UAS registration system and develop and track metrics to assess compliance. Finally, the title calls for a study into the potential roles of state and local governments, a study of financing options related to regulation and oversight of UAS, and an increase of transparency by requiring the FAA to publish information on approved small drove waivers and airspace authorizations.

Title IV: Air Service Improvements

Title IV prohibits involuntary bumping of passengers once they have already boarded the plane and instructs the Secretary to clarify current regulations regarding compensation offered in instances of involuntary denied boarding. The title prohibits the use of cells phones and mobile devices for voice communications while an aircraft is in-flight, and addresses concerns raised by aviation consumers with disabilities by reviewing best practices and conducting studies on how to better improve overall travel experience (this includes the establishment of a Select Subcommittee for Aviation Consumers with Disabilities).

Further, the title extends the Advisory Committee for Aviation Consumer Protection and address consumer issues in the air ambulance industry by establishing an advisory committee to make recommendations on consumer protections and improve the process of filing complaints.

Title V: Miscellaneous

Title V addresses miscellaneous provisions relating to air travel and the FAA. Some provisions include the establishment of a Lithium Ion Battery Safety Advisory Committee, the establishment of a Remote Tower Pilot Program for Rural or Small Communities to assess the benefits of such towers, studying the needs of future aviation and aerospace workforce, personnel training on addressing human trafficking, amends the existing non-smoking law to apply to e-cigarettes, requiring large ticket agents to adopt minimum customer service standards, and issue regulations establishing minimum seat dimension standards on passenger aircraft.

Title VI: Disaster Recovery Reform Act

Title VI improves the disaster and mitigation assistance to eligible individuals and households and to eligible state, local, tribal, and territorial governments and certain non-profit organizations. The title increases federal emphasis on pre-disaster planning and mitigation by ensuring that provided assistance is invested in pre-disaster hazard mitigation and states and local government are incentivized to take steps that increase disaster resilience and invest in mitigation.

Further, the title addresses wildfire prevention, eligibility for disaster assistance, and agency efficiency and accountability.

Title VII: Flight R&D Act

The title calls for the appointment of an Associate Administrator for Research and Development and establishes a Research Advisory Committee. The title directs the FAA to establish R&D programs to improve cybersecurity of civil aircraft and the system, improve air traffic surveillance over oceans and other remote locations, support of single-piloted cargo aircraft with remote piloting, and regarding the use of the electromagnetic spectrum. The title also address specific R&D policy areas surround unmanned aerial systems surrounding risks, collisions, and beyond line-of-sight operations.

Title VIII: Aviation Revenue Provisions

Title VIII extends general expenditure authority for the Airport and Airway Trust Fund from September 30, 2018 through September 30, 2023 and extend aviation taxes funding the Airport and Airway Trust Fund from September 30, 2018 through September 30, 2023.

Source: Republican Policy Committee


All Votes R D
Yea 97%
Nay 3%
Not Voting

Passed. Simple Majority Required. Source:

Ideology Vote Chart

Republican - Yea Democrat - Yea Republican - Nay Democrat - Nay
Seat position based on our ideology score.

Cartogram Map

Each hexagon represents one congressional district. Solid hexes are Yea votes.

What you can do

Vote Details

Notes: The Speaker’s Vote? “Aye” or “Yea”?
Download as CSV

Statistically Notable Votes

Statistically notable votes are the votes that are most surprising, or least predictable, given how other members of each voter’s party voted and other factors.

All Votes

Study Guide

How well do you understand this vote? Use this study guide to find out.

You can find answers to most of the questions below here on the vote page. For a guide to understanding the bill this vote was about, see here.

What was the procedure for this vote?

  1. What was this vote on?
  2. Not all votes are meant to pass legislation. In the Senate some votes are not about legislation at all, since the Senate must vote to confirm presidential nominations to certain federal positions.

    This vote is related to a bill. However, that doesn’t necessarily tell you what it is about. Congress makes many decisions in the process of passing legislation, such as on the procedures for debating the bill, whether to change the bill before voting on passage, and even whether to vote on passage at all.

    You can learn more about the various motions used in Congress at If you aren’t sure what the House was voting on, try seeing if it’s on this list.

  3. What is the next step after this vote?
  4. Take a look at where this bill is in the legislative process. What might come next? Keep in mind what this specific vote was on, and the context of the bill. Will there be amendments? Will the other chamber of Congress vote on it, or let it die?

    For this question it may help to briefly examine the bill itself.

What is your analysis of this vote?

  1. What trends do you see in this vote?
  2. Members of Congress side together for many reasons beside being in the same political party, especially so for less prominent legislation or legislation specific to a certain region. What might have determined how the roll call came out in this case? Does it look like Members of Congress voted based on party, geography, or some other reason?

    One tool that will be helpful in answering this question is the cartogram at the top of the page. A cartogram is a stylized map of the United States that shows each district as an identical hexagon. This view allows you to see the how the representatives from each district voted arranged by their geography and colored by their political party. What trends can you see in the cartogram for this vote?

  3. How did your representative vote?
  4. There is one vote here that should be more important to you than all the others. These are the votes cast by your representative, which is meant to represent you and your community. Do you agree with how your representative voted? Why do you think they voted the way they did?

    If you don’t already know who your Members of Congress are you can find them by entering your address here.

Each vote’s study guide is a little different — we automatically choose which questions to include based on the information we have available about the vote. Study guides are a new feature to GovTrack. You can help us improve them by filling out this survey or by sending your feedback to