The Senate turned to a Federal Aviation Administration bill Wednesday afternoon, considering the version favored by Tennessee’s Senators, who threatened to hold up the House-passed measure.
Senate Republican Conference Chairman Lamar Alexander (Tenn.) and Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) had previously refused to debate the House measure over provisions that would subject FedEx employees to trucking company unionization laws. FedEx is based in Memphis, Tenn. To avoid a procedural fight, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) opted to bring up the Senate-passed version favored by both Republicans.
A spokeswoman for Reid predicted the FAA measure, which the Majority Leader is framing as part of his jobs agenda, will be debated on the floor into early next week. After the bill is completed, the Senate will return to an earlier jobs measure that would provide a tax credit for small-business hiring.
The Senate passed the $15 billion measure last month but now must reconsider it after the House tweaked it to add sweeteners for the Congressional Black Caucus and fiscally conservative Blue Dog Democrats that brought the price tag up to $17.6 billion. The measure also includes expense deductions for small businesses, extends the Highway Trust Fund and provides funding for the Build America Bonds program.