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 CruzOn The Money: Conservative blocks disaster relief bill | Trade high on agenda as Trump heads to Japan | Boeing reportedly faces SEC probe over 737 Max | Study finds CEO pay rising twice as fast as worker pay Conservative blocks House passage of disaster relief bill The Hill's Morning Report — After contentious week, Trump heads for Japan MORE (R-Texas) on Wednesday pressed President TrumpDonald John TrumpPapadopoulos on AG's new powers: 'Trump is now on the offense' Pelosi uses Trump to her advantage Mike Pence delivers West Point commencement address 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 SchatzFake Pelosi video sparks fears for campaigns Overnight Energy: Democrats ask if EPA chief misled on vehicle emissions | Dem senators want NBC debate focused on climate change | 2020 hopeful John Delaney unveils T climate plan Democratic senators want NBC primary debate to focus on climate change 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.