By a vote of 197 to 202, the House rejected an amendment to increase spending on the nation's air travel system by separating the aviation trust fund from the general budget.
The vote occurred as the House passed and sent to the Senate a bill (HR 2310) authorizing $28.5 billion over five years for purposes such as upgrading airport facilities, improving air safety, ensuring that small cities continue to get airline service and expanding the traffic controller force.
About $5.6 billion, raised mainly by a tax on passenger tickets, is in the aviation trust fund. This vote means it will remain unspent and counted against the annual deficit.
Supporter John Paul Hammerschmidt (R-Ark.) told his colleagues to support the amendment "if you want to do something to improve service, reduce delays and enhance safety."