Cruz asks Trump FAA pick to 'be pissed off' about Boeing crash deaths

Cruz asks Trump FAA pick to 'be pissed off' about Boeing crash deaths
© Greg Nash

Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Sights and sounds from Houston debate Ted Cruz says he hopes to 'run again' for White House Conservatives offer stark warning to Trump, GOP on background checks MORE (R-Texas) on Wednesday pressed President TrumpDonald John TrumpSupreme Court comes to Trump's aid on immigration Trump is failing on trade policy Trump holds call with Netanyahu to discuss possible US-Israel defense treaty MORE's nominee to lead the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to, if confirmed, "be pissed off" over the deaths of more than 300 people in two Boeing 737 Max jet crashes and act on that feeling.

At a hearing Wednesday of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, Cruz told Steve Dickson to battle what Cruz called "bureaucratic inertia" that prevented the FAA from exercising stronger oversight.

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"If you are confirmed getting to the FAA, the easiest thing to do will be to do nothing," Cruz told Dickson. "Bureaucratic inertia is powerful, and the natural instincts of any agency is protect itself, protect the status quo, and admit no wrongdoing."

"What I’m asking you to do, if confirmed, is be pissed off that 346 people died," he added.

Cruz went on to accuse the FAA of allowing a "serious breakdown in the certification process" of the Boeing 737 Max jets, which were grounded worldwide earlier this year after a second fatal crash involving such jets in just six months killed 157 people in Ethiopia.

"So, Mr. Dickson, I would ask you not to give in to the natural bureaucratic reaction to defend what happens," Cruz said. "But instead, ask seriously ... whether we could have prevented these crashes."

Dickson, a former Delta executive, was nominated in March to serve as the FAA's next administrator. The agency he is set to join faces heavy scrutiny from the U.S. and other countries that fly 737 Max jets as it determines whether the planes will be safe to fly commercially once again.

His nomination is one of the few on Capitol Hill with bipartisan support, as Democrats, including Sen. Brian SchatzBrian Emanuel SchatzState probes of Google, Facebook to test century-old antitrust laws Trump's sinking polls embolden Democrats to play hardball Hundreds of Bahamians told to leave evacuation ship headed to US: report MORE (Hawaii), have signaled support for his confirmation.

"This I think is something we might be able to do on a bipartisan basis," Schatz told Politico last month.