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Tipsheet

Buttigieg Could Be Forced to Start Flying Commercial

AP Photo/Susan Walsh

After several months of flight disruptions, and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg coincidentally being “absent” to deal with the chaos, Republicans are calling on him to have to fly commercially with the rest of Americans. 

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Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) filed a bill that would require Buttigieg and his staff to fly on commercial airplanes amid a Southwest Airlines and a Federal Aviation Administration computer glitch being investigated. 

“So, until the issues with Southwest and the FAA are investigated and resolved, he and his staff should be required to fly commercial just like every other American,” Mace said, who called out Buttigieg for having flown “approximately 20 times” in the last six months. 

The bill, titled Commercial Cabins for Cabinet Members, would allow there to be time for the GOP to investigate the situation. 

On Wednesday, thousands of flights were grounded, leaving people stranded at airports once again, after a computer that generates alerts called, Notice to Air Missions, pilots broke down.

In a news conference, Buttigieg promised to learn why the system malfunctioned. 

“There was a systems issue overnight that led to a ground stop because of the way safety information was moving through the system," Buttigieg said, cautioning travelers that they can see effects “rippling through the system.” 

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This was nothing compared to the weeklong debacle that Southwest Airlines faced over the holiday season due to a mix of weather-related issues and a breakdown within the company. 

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has also called for Buttigieg to step down, calling for new leadership. 

“The flying public deserves safety in the sky. The FAA’s inability to keep an important safety system up and running is completely unacceptable and just the latest example of dysfunction within the Department of Transportation,” Cruz said. 

The Texas senator demanded a full accounting to Congress following the mass outage, calling for reforms before lawmakers reauthorize the FAA this year. 

“This incident also highlights why the public needs a competent, proven leader with substantive aviation experience leading the FAA,” Cruz continued. 

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