Senate leaders promised Wednesday that FAA reauthorization will be debated in the next five weeks, setting up a showdown over controversial issues -- including pilot background checks, tarmac delays and deadlines for equipping aircraft with NextGen avionics. Funding for the agency remains vague, because the Senate Commerce Committee, which originated the reauthorization bill, deferred to the Finance Committee on the proper mix of aviation taxes and fees. The Finance Committee is expected to take up the issue soon and attach its funding provisions to the bill in time for the floor debate.

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