Harlem Rep. Espaillat And Others Plan Hearing On Shutdown’s Impact On Aviation

February 7, 2019

Today, Harlem Rep. Adriano Espaillat, including Gregory W. Meeks, and Grace Meng thanked Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio and Aviation Subcommittee Chairman Rick Larsen for hearing the concerns of New York members of Congress.

The thank you included holding a hearing to investigate the impacts of the Trump Shutdown on the safety, stability, and security of air travel and our aviation system.

Earlier this week, members of the New York delegation, led by Rep. Espaillat, Rep. Meng, and Rep. Meeks, sent a letter to the chairmen asking for this important hearing given the severe impact the Trump Shutdown had on aviation in New York City. On the day President Trump finally ended the longest government shutdown in U.S. history, the FAA’s Air Traffic Control was forced to ban all incoming flights to LaGuardia Airport due to personnel constraints following 35 days of work with no pay.

“Given the horrendous closure at LaGuardia Airport that precipitated the end of the Trump Shutdown, it is critical that we investigate the effects it had on the safety and stability of our aviation system and how to keep travelers and workers safe,” said Rep. Adriano Espaillat (NY-13). “That’s why I’m glad to lead my colleagues from New York City in making this important request of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and its Aviation Subcommittee, and I’m so grateful the chairmen have responded to our concerns. As New York City’s only member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, I feel it is my responsibility to ensure the senseless Trump Shutdown does not continue to pose threats to safety and security of travelers, residents, and workers.”

“The 35-day Trump shutdown made it clear that the President is willing to hold airport personnel hostage as a negotiating tactic, the very people tasked with keeping us safe. Whether it’s the TSA agents who had to work without pay or the safety inspectors who were furloughed, the shutdown has had considerable effects on our airports, and we need to take a closer look at those consequences in case the President decides to shut down the government again,” said Rep. Gregory W. Meeks.

“We must have a full account of the Trump Shutdown’s effects on aviation safety at LaGuardia Airport, and all other airports across the nation. That’s why I’m grateful to lead with Congressmen Espaillat and Meeks, joined by our NYC colleagues, in a letter urging the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to hold a hearing on the impact of the Trump Shutdown on our aviation system,” said Rep. Grace Meng (NY-06). “I’m so thankful this committee and its Aviation Subcommittee has now agreed to host this critical hearing. President Trump’s insistence on a medieval border wall in exchange for reopening the government resulted in the longest government shutdown in U.S. history. The entire country needs to learn the impact of the Trump Shutdown on our aviation system, and how it imperiled the safety of all travelers and workers – so that such a shutdown never happens again.”

In their letter, the members highlighted the importance of finding a way to mitigate the effects of the Trump Shutdown: “Congress must find out not only how were travelers impacted, but also how the shutdown impacted thousands of hardworking federal employees who keep our skies safe. And we must also investigate how the shutdown exacerbated existing understaffing and backlog issues and how these can be addressed in the coming months. There are numerous individuals across the aviation industry and government who would be willing to serve as witnesses before the committee to share their insights on the record and lend their thoughts for how we can mitigate the dangers to safety and our air travel network in the future. It is critical that we hear from them as we look to clean up the mess this shutdown created.”

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You can read the full letter here.

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