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Sen. Cruz to FAA Administrator: You Work for the American People, Not Boeing, Not the Airlines

FAA Administrator admits agency made mistakes during Cruz’s line of questioning

June 17, 2020

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WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), chairman of the Aviation and Space Subcommittee, today participated in a Senate Commerce Committee hearing with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Administrator Stephen Dickson regarding the 737 MAX crashes that took the lives of 346 innocent people. During Sen. Cruz's line of questioning, Administrator Dickson admitted that the FAA and Boeing made mistakes that allowed the crashes to happen. Watch the full exchange here. Excerpts are below.

During his line of questioning, Sen. Cruz pressed Administrator Dickson on the cause of the MAX crashes and the agency's lack of urgency to protect the safety of the flying public, saying:

"In Washington, the passive voice is a classic tell. ‘Mistakes were made' is a great way of avoiding responsibility because there is no actor in that phrase, ‘mistakes were made.' Who made the mistakes and why? Don't speak in the passive voice."

Administrator Dickson responded:

"The manufacturer made mistakes and the FAA made mistakes in its oversight of the manufacturer."

Sen. Cruz continued, asking:

"And what were the mistakes and why were they made?"

Administrator Dickson responded:

"The full implications of the flight control system were not understood as design changes were made."

Sen. Cruz concluded by saying:

"Mr. Dickson, in your opening statement, you said, ‘Safety is a journey, not a destination.' For the 346 souls lost on the two 737 MAX's that crashed, safety was all about arriving at their destination. They should have arrived at the destination. Had Boeing not covered up serious safety concerns, number one, and had the FAA done its job of making sure that the MCAS was not put in the field without pilots being appropriately trained.

"I think the concern this committee has is we're not seeing from you any of the urgency of fixing this problem, it is very easy to go into an agency and yourself get captured by the agency. You understand, sir, you do not work for the airlines and you do not work for Boeing. You work for the American people. And this committee expects transparency. This committee expects that when we ask questions specifically about malfeasance that cost the lives of 346 people, that you will be forthcoming and answer those questions. And I'm hopeful that's the conduct we'll see going forward."

As Chairman of the Aviation and Space subcommittee, Sen. Cruz has been a leading voice in the Senate demanding answers from the FAA and Boeing, and seeking the truth surrounding the events that led to the 737 MAX crashes. As chairman he has spearheaded committee investigations to examine the safety of the commercial air transportation system and ways to improve it.

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