Following President Joe Biden’s signing of the bipartisan FAA Reauthorization Act of 2024, two Texas lawmakers are calling out U.S. Rep. Colin Allred for trying to add woke principles while hardly working to pass the act. 

The FAA Reauthorization Act of 2024 is legislation authored by U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) that addressed challenges facing the aviation industry. 

Some of the key provisions in the legislation include requiring cockpit voice recorders on commercial aircraft to record for 25 hours, requiring airlines to seat families together, creating a pilot program for entities that train veterans for civil aviation careers, and establishing a thorough review of medical and mental health protocols for pilots. 

As it relates to Texas, the act also will add five exemptions to the statutory “perimeter rule”—a rule that limits nonstop flights at the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport to 1,250 miles from Washington—allowing round-trip flights to and from the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport from locations previously excluded from direct flights. This includes a direct flight from San Antonio to Washington, making it a more convenient travel for members of the military traveling from the Joint Base San Antonio. 

In addition, the act also adds provisions that could benefit Texas universities seeking to develop aviation-related curriculum and workforce development programs, as well as a measure addressing the recent wildfires in Texas, directing the FAA to develop a plan to improve the use of unmanned aircraft to fight wildfires. 

“I am immensely proud that our bipartisan FAA reauthorization, which received overwhelming support from lawmakers in both parties, is now law. Our legislation will make flying faster, easier, and more enjoyable for passengers while improving airports and air traffic control, so flying is even safer,” Cruz said following Biden’s signing. 

“This legislation delivers significant wins for Texas and the hundreds of thousands of Texans who work in aerospace. For instance, the law expands the number of direct flights into and out of Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. This hotly contested matter, which I fought to deliver, means direct access to our nation’s capital for San Antonians. The new law also establishes an advanced aviation center for testing and approving futuristic aircraft, like air taxis, that Texas is well-positioned to host.”

Although the act is now law, U.S. Rep. Troy Nehls and Brian Babin (R-Texas) are sounding the alarm on Rep. Allred for not working as hard to pass it in the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee—the committee with jurisdiction over the act. 

“Overall, I am pleased with the recent FAA reauthorization,” Nehls told Texas Scorecard.  “While the FAA reauthorization lacked my legislation which would address our nation’s glaring pilot shortage by allowing commercial airline pilots to continue to fly until they reach the age of 67, I applaud the work of my Texas Republican colleagues. Unfortunately, one of my Texas colleagues on the other side of the aisle was hardly seen doing anything, despite the importance of the legislation for not only Texans but for people across the country.”

Babin also told Texas Scorecard that while it passed, Allred—the sole Democrat on the House Committee—voted for woke principles to add to the act. 

“The FAA Reauthorization contained big wins for the Lone Star State, thanks to strong Republican and Texan leadership. However, the sole Texas Democrat on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee voted in favor of woke COVID vaccine/mask mandates for airline passengers and employees. He also voted to mandate union labor agreements for construction contracts and grants, which costs taxpayers billions and prevents many Texas companies from even being considered for associated construction work,” said Babin. 

Allred has already been criticized for missing a vote on border security legislation shortly after voting for legislation to send money to Ukraine.

Allred is the current Democrat nominee for Cruz’ Senate seat.

General Election Day is November 5, 2024.

Emily Medeiros

Emily graduated from the University of Oklahoma majoring in Journalism. She is excited to use her research and writing skills to report on important issues around Texas.