A group of Senate Republicans called on Attorney General Merrick Garland to not create a federal no-fly list that would ban travel in the U.S. for unruly passengers Monday, saying it should be up to the airline, not the government.
The Daily Caller first obtained the letter, spearheaded by Wyoming Sen. Cynthia Lummis and signed by seven other Republicans. In the letter, the lawmakers mentioned Delta airlines’ interest in the Department of Justice (DOJ) creating a “no-fly” list for those who have been convicted of on-board disruption of any kind, saying they all oppose the idea.
Major U.S. airlines have reportedly been working with the Biden administration on creating a nationwide no-fly list, according to Bloomberg. The ban would prevent unruly passengers, many of whom are people who have not abided by mask mandates, from flying on major airlines. The Senators say it should be up to the airline companies, not the federal government to say who is banned from flying.
Since airlines started implementing mask mandates, there has been a large spike in unruly passenger incidents, Bloomberg reported. According to the Federal Aviation Administration, there were 5,981 unruly passenger reports in 2021, of which 72% were related to mask mandates.
READ THE LETTER HERE:
“TSA no-fly lists have been historically restricted to suspected terrorists, because such individuals are a threat to every airline and every traveler. Expanding the use of no-fly lists to include people who are frustrated about mask mandates would tacitly equate ordinary fliers to violent extremists. This is offensive not only to me but to the people of Wyoming,” Lummis told the Daily Caller before sending the letter.
“The Justice Department should be focused on upholding actual law, instead of finding new ways to target ordinary Americans,” Lummis continued.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg told CNN earlier in February that a no-fly list that includes some passengers banned by major airline companies is being considered by the federal government.
“Obviously, there are enormous implications in terms of civil liberties, in terms of how you administer something like that,” Buttigieg said in an interview on CNN. “Even when it was over terrorism, it was not a simple thing to set up. So none of these things can be done lightly. But I think all of these things need to be looked at, at a moment like this.”
The other Republicans who signed the letter include, Utah Sen. Mike Lee, Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, North Dakota Sen. Kevin Cramer, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, North Dakota Sen. John Hoeven and Florida Sen. Rick Scott.
The Daily Caller contacted the DOJ about the letter from the Senators and to see if this idea was still being considered, to which they did not immediately respond.