Regulate Boeing? Naah. Assert Congressional Authority? Naah.

Cheriss May/NurPhoto/Sipa via AP Images

Elaine Chao, with her husband Senator Mitch McConnell, after being sworn in as the secretary of transportation

Europe and Asia have stopped flying the Boeing 737 MAX 8, but it still soars overhead in the good old USA, rattling the confidence of air passengers from Maine to California. And what has the Federal Aviation Administration, which is part of the Department of Transportation, done in response? 

Nothing.

That’s par for the course at the DOT, headed by Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, the longtime wife of one Mitch McConnell. According to an article in today’sWall Street Journal: 

Thirty-five congressional mandates sit unanswered, on everything from minimum seat space to secondary barriers protecting cockpits. The top job at the Federal Aviation Administration has been open for 14 months. Enforcement fines against major U.S. airlines have dropped 88 percent in the past two years, even as three-hour tarmac delays have more than doubled.

The Transportation Department under Secretary Elaine Chao has seemingly been delayed on a number of issues important to travelers. Even with airlines begging for rules on emotional-support animals, and both Republicans and Democrats expressing concerns about swollen fees, shrunken seating and punitive airline policies, the DOT has been loath to issue new regulations.

The article, by Journal travel industry reporter Scott McCartney, goes on to report:

Now Ms. Chao’s department, which includes the FAA, faces its toughest regulatory challenge: safety concerns on the Boeing 737 MAX. Two fatal crashes of the new airplane in the past five months have led several nations and some airlines to ground the jet.

So far, the FAA, siding with Boeing and U.S. airlines, says the plane is safe and a software fix is coming by the end of April.

Meanwhile, the above mentioned Mitch McConnell is hard at work making sure that the body he heads, the Senate, doesn’t produce enough votes to override the certain veto that President Trump will issue for a resolution condemning his declaration of a national emergency on the border and his redirection of funds to building a border wall that Congress specifically refused to authorize. Never mind Article I of the Constitution, which gives Congress sole authority to permit the spending of federal dollars. If Trump blows past the Constitution, McConnell’s idea of the proper congressional response is to sit in quiet repose.

It’s not hard to imagine the nightly pillow talk between McConnell and Chao.

Mitch: What’d you do today, hon?

Elaine: Nothing. What’d you do today, hon?

Mitch: Nothing.  

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