The House has turned back an attempt by a conservative Republican lawmaker to slash taxpayer subsidies for air service to isolated smaller cities and towns that can cost hundreds of dollars a ticket.
The vote late Tuesday killed a bid by California Republican Tom McClintock to slash the Essential Air Service program, which subsidizes flights to 120 communities in 35 states in the continental U.S. and Puerto Rico and 43 towns in Alaska.
The vote came as the House debated a massive transportation spending bill.
Republicans controlling the House had voted to eliminate the oft-criticized program last year while they considered renewing federal aviation programs. A coalition of Democrats and Republicans representing rural America reversed the move, however, and the program's budget now would reach a new high next year.