House Transportation Committee chairman threatens to subpoena Boeing, FAA communication

House Transportation Committee chairman threatens to subpoena Boeing, FAA communication
© Victoria Sarno Jordan

The chairman of the House Transportation Committee said Wednesday that his panel will serve Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) with subpoenas if necessary to obtain documents related to the certification of Boeing's 737 Max aircraft.

Rep. Peter DeFazioPeter Anthony DeFazioThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Pass USMCA Coalition - Deadline approaches for 2020 Dems Dems eye big infrastructure package, with or without Trump Dems, Trump pull T surprise on infrastructure MORE (D-Ore.) told The New York Times that a second fatal crash involving the aircraft in fewer than six months warranted a congressional investigation. The aircraft was involved in a fatal crash on Sunday shortly after taking off from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, killing all 157 people on board.


“This warrants vigorous investigation,” DeFazio told the Times. “We’re going to get anything in writing there is to get.”

President TrumpDonald John TrumpNASA exec leading moon mission quits weeks after appointment The Hill's Morning Report — After contentious week, Trump heads for Japan Frustration boils over with Senate's 'legislative graveyard' MORE joined a chorus of officials in other countries on Wednesday by ordering Boeing 737 Max 8 and Max 9 aircraft to be grounded. China was the first major country to ground the jets, while the U.S. became the last in a series of nations, including Canada, Britain and the entire European Union.

The FAA repeatedly declined to ground the aircraft this week, even as a growing number of countries around the world issued similar declarations following Sunday's crash.

“The safety of the American people and all people is our paramount concern,” Trump told reporters Wednesday, adding that the planes will not fly “until further notice.”

“We didn’t have to make this decision today. We could have delayed it. We maybe didn’t have to make it at all. But I felt it was important both psychologically and in a lot of other ways,” he added.

Acting FAA administrator Daniel Elwell stood by his agency's decision to not ground the planes until Wednesday in a call with reporters, stating that the FAA did not have the evidence required to ground the aircraft until today.

“We take actions based on findings, on data, on risk assessment, and since this accident occurred we were resolute in our position that we would not take action until we had data to support taking action,” he said. “That data coalesced today and we made the call.”