Cantwell Statement on DOT Inspector General Report on Boeing 737 MAX

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), the Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, released the following statement about a report issued by the Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Transportation about aircraft certification and oversight at the Federal Aviation Administration:

“The report issued today by the Department of Transportation’s Inspector General confirms that the FAA must be strong, independent, and transparent in order to keep the flying public safe. It shows a lack of clear communication and oversight of the verification of data. The FAA should not defend the status quo. That’s why I’ve introduced bipartisan legislation with Chairman Wicker that would put the FAA back in the driver’s seat and make clear that safety is job one.”

Cantwell has introduced multiple pieces of legislation to strengthen aircraft safety. Last month, she and Commerce Committee Chairman Roger Wicker (R-MS) introduced the Aircraft Safety and Certification Reform Act of 2020 to strengthen FAA’s oversight and authority over the aircraft certification process and address human factors to accurately assess pilot response to cockpit alerts. She also introduced bipartisan legislation to authorize the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to work with other countries to strengthen pilot training standards and enable the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to further enhance worldwide aviation safety and training standards.


She has also introduced legislation to codify expert recommendations into law to improve aviation safety. In October 2019, she introduced a bill to implement aviation safety recommendations from the NTSB, U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General (DOT IG), and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) that seek to address challenges related to increased automation in commercial aircraft cockpits, as well as how pilots respond to flight deck alerts and uncommanded flight control inputs.

Earlier this year, she introduced bipartisan legislation to create one-year paid aerospace policy fellowship roles for graduate and post-graduate students in Congress, at the FAA, and in other federal agencies to help build a pool of talent conversant in emerging technologies for the FAA and Congress to draw from as they make policy in the aviation sector.