Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) are among the lawmakers coming out in support of grounding all Boeing 737 MAX airplanes.
The aircraft has been grounded in the U.K., Germany, France, and other countries after an Ethiopian Airlines jet crashed and killed 157 people, per CNN. This came after another Boeing 737 MAX 8 crashed in October, killing 189 people. But the United States has not followed suit and grounded the 737 MAX, and Boeing has said it has "full confidence" in its safety, as has Southwest Airlines and American Airlines, per The New York Times.
Cruz on Tuesday called for all 737 MAX planes to be "temporarily" grounded, saying that it would be "prudent" for the United States to do so "until the [Federal Aviation Administration] confirms the safety of these aircraft and their passengers." Cruz, who is the chair of the Subcommittee on Aviation and Space, said he'll hold hearings on these crashes.
Warren similarly said that "today, immediately, the FAA needs to get these planes out of the sky," per Politico, also suggesting Congress should investigate whether "an administration that famously refused to stand up to Saudi Arabia to protect Boeing arms sales has once again put lives at risk for the same reason."
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) agreed that the planes should not continue to fly "until we investigate the causes of recent crashes and ensure the plane's airworthiness." Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said continuing to fly the model presents an "unnecessary, potentially life-threatening risk." Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) called for an investigation and said he told his family to switch planes rather than fly on a Boeing 737 MAX jet, arguing any American who wants to rebook "should be permitted to do so without any expense."
Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg spoke with President Trump over the phone on Tuesday and "made the case that the 737 MAX planes should not be grounded in the United States," The New York Times reports. Brendan Morrow
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in her first address to the 116th Congress declared the beginning of "a new dawn" but pledged to work across the aisle, citing two past Republican presidents in the process.
Pelosi in her address said Democrats will protect DREAMers, and she made her case by citing former President Ronald Reagan, who said in his last speech as president, "If we ever closed the door to new Americans, our leadership in the world would soon be lost." When Republicans in the chamber didn't clap along with Democrats in response to this line, Pelosi said, "You don't applaud for Ronald Reagan?"
Soon after, Pelosi paid tribute to former President George H.W. Bush, who she called a "cherished former member of this body" and a "beloved" commander-in-chief. She said, "Today, I single out one of his great achievements: working with both Democrats and Republicans to write the Americans With Disabilities Act into the laws of our land."
Pelosi also promised that the 116th Congress will be "transparent, bipartisan and unifying" and that Democrats will "seek to reach across the aisle in this chamber and across the divisions in this great nation." At the same time, she pledged to address income inequality, protect Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, and work to combat climate change, saying that in the midterm elections, "the American people spoke, and demanded a new dawn." Watch Pelosi's speech below. Brendan Morrow
CIA Director Mike Pompeo is vying to become the next secretary of state, and on Thursday his efforts got a significant boost.
Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.) announced her support for Pompeo in a statement Thursday, becoming the first Democratic senator to indicate she would vote to confirm Pompeo as America's chief diplomat. Heitkamp said Pompeo is "committed to empowering the diplomats at the State Department so they can do their jobs in advancing American interests."
Full Heitkamp statement on her decision to vote YES on the Pompeo nomination. This just about pushes Pompeo across the finish line (depending on Flake), with a handful of other Dems still making up their minds: pic.twitter.com/vwWQV1t9EJ
That vote could put Pompeo across the finish line, per CBS News — even if one Republican isn't his favor. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul hasn't backtracked on his intention to vote down or even filibuster the nomination, but Heitkamp's vote would make up for it. Still, Arizona's Republican senators may complicate things, as Jeff Flake is still up in the air and John McCain is away from the Capitol undergoing cancer treatment. Kathryn Krawczyk