Democrats are pressuring the Biden administration to fine airlines over pilot and staff shortages as thousands of canceled flights head for a busy travel season.
Airlines are struggling to meet demand amid the pandemic’s turn, our colleagues report for The Hill, and the White House is facing mounting pressure from politicians to fine airlines for delays.
John Fetterman, Pennsylvania’s Democratic nominee for Senate, is asking the Department of Transportation to fine airlines up to $27,500 per passenger for every flight “they knew they didn’t have the staff to fly.” Fetterman argues that the government “has a responsibility to hold these airlines accountable.”
Sense. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) wrote letters to 10 major domestic airlines, urging them to resolve their schedule problems for the remainder of the summer. They also asked them to provide information by mid-July on how many flights were delayed and canceled and how many passengers received refunds.
and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) addressed Minister of Transport Pete Buttigieg On Wednesday, he urged him to take action against airlines, such as fines for delays and for scheduling flights they know don’t have staff. Buttigieg said in mid-June his agency could take action against airlines that fail to meet consumer protection standards.
Some context: Airlines blame the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for failing to provide a workforce plan before the summer, but the FAA and Biden administrations argue that the $54 billion in pandemic relief funds should have allowed them to increase staffing levels .
Many legislators have also noted this under the former President Obamathe DOT enforced limits on how long an airplane could sit on the runway without receiving a fine.
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Biden officials are preparing for the next Supreme Court rulings
The Supreme Court is poised to make decisions in two follow-up cases for the Biden administration on Thursday, the last day of its term:
West Virginia vs. Environmental Protection Agency
The Supreme Court is likely to weaken the EPA’s ability to regulate emissions from power plants, thereby undermining the Biden administration’s agenda to combat climate change.
If the court rules against the EPA – after recent controversial decisions on guns and abortion – expect protests in DC and other major cities.
- Possible implications of the judgmentabove Rachel Frazin from The Hill
- Something to see: Youth group climate Sunrise movement DC plans to protest outside the courthouse Thursday with other protest groups like Shut Down DC and Arm in Arm, organizer Mike Warburton tells NotedDC.
Biden vs. Texas
The court will decide whether President Biden can end a Trump-era immigration policy known as the “Remain in Mexico” rule, which forces asylum seekers from Mexico to remain at the border while their applications are processed.
- John Kruzel of The Hill reports that under Trump more than 70,000 asylum seekers were returned to Mexico as part of the policy. Previously, they were allowed to apply for asylum during their stay in the United States
- In the background: The verdict follows 50 migrants found dead in a semi-truck near San Antonio Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) told Politico on Wednesday he had resumed stalled immigration reform talks.
Bye, bye, BREYER
justice Stephen Breyer has made it official: He is leaving the Supreme Court Thursday noon after completing his current term.
- The judge, who has been on the High Court since 1994, when he was nominated –President Clintonwas an important part of the liberal wing.
- He is replaced by Ketanji Brown Jacksonwho becomes the first black woman and first former federal public defender to serve on the High Court.
You can watch a live stream of Jackson’s swearing-in ceremony Thursday noon on the Supreme Court’s website. Read more about Breyer’s retirement here
Alex Wagner bets on new prime-time perch
NBC News sees Rachel Maddows Cutting prime time to host a podcast and focus on other long-term gigs for the network is a risk — but one it hopes will pay off.
- “It’s a great case study for this proliferation of platforms,” said the NBCUniversal News Group chairman Cesar Conde said this week at the Aspen Ideas Festival.
- Dominick Mastrangelo of The Hill writes that their postponement signals that NBC is ready to put more energy into streaming and audio ventures that have not been successful for other major networks like CNN.
Alexander Wagnera journalist and political analyst at MSNBC, will replace Maddow four nights a week (Maddow will still host Mondays at 9 p.m. Eastern).
- A big question: Will Wagner be able to attract as large an audience as Maddow? That’s something MSNBC has probably struggled with since Maddow has garnered some of the highest ratings on cable news.
- MSNBC President Rashida Jones offered the New York Times a glimpse of Wagner’s show habit look like, “This isn’t a show where our hair is on fire and we’re screaming at each other, and we create these fabricated moments of tension.”
MORE WASHINGTON MOVES
Karl Evers-Hillstrom from The Hill has a weekly recap of where people are in the lobbying world (and you can send us your professional updates too!).
Here are some highlights:
- Geoff Freeman will be the next President and CEO of the US Travel Association
- Paul Sass will be joining Cassidy & Associates, stepping down as Republican personnel director for the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee
- Andreas Uskyk joined Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck LLP as Policy Director
- Michael Held joined WilmerHale as a partner in the firm’s securities and financial services division.
- Kelly Hitchcock joined Invariant LLC as a director working with the firm’s financial services and tax clients
- Christopher Kasparmost recently Director of Government Affairs at Textron Inc BAE systems as Director of Government Affairs.
Added DC restaurants to the top US wine list
A well-known DC restaurant is open wine spectators‘s newly released list of Grand Award winners known for “outstanding” wine service: Fiola, the upscale Italian eatery just steps from the National Mall. (See all US Grand Award winners here.)
Nearly 50 additional restaurants in the DC area will be honored for their wine selections, including several that were added this year and can be found here.
The Wine Spectator editorial team hosted guests and top winemakers at the Ronald Reagan Building earlier this month.
Scooter around the Capitol? It’s complicated.
DC Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) scored a win for residents who enjoy sledding around the Capitol grounds during the snowy winter months, but the urge to allow motor scooters on the complex faces continued to set in as a hurdle.
Scooters, while not an uncommon sight in the Capitol, are technically banned from the area. This will not change in the foreseeable future as part of a budget bill presented by the House of Representatives.
“I’m pleased with the victories for DC in this bill,” Norton said in a statement Thursday. “However, I am disappointed that the report accompanying the bill continues to support the existing ban on electric scooters in the Capitol complex.”
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