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Several conservative measures, including a measure to reinstate pilots who lost their jobs after not taking the COVID vaccine, failed in the Republican-controlled House on Wednesday during debate on a bill to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
An amendment that would have required airlines to reinstate pilots who were fired or lost their job because they did not want to take the COVID vaccine failed 141-294 in the House. Eighty-three Republicans voted against the measure, and Maine Democrat Jared Golden voted for the measure.
Rep. Mary Miller (R-IL) offered the amendment on the House floor after it was filed by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA).
“Hundreds of pilots were forced out of their livelihoods over the past several years for their refusal to get COVID vaccine,” Greene said on Wednesday. “They were denied medical freedom to decide whether they should take the experimental COVID vaccine or lose their job.”
The full extent of how many pilots were fired or quit over vaccine mandates remains unclear, but some airlines strictly enforced the policy, with United Airlines firing hundreds of employees who chose to remain unvaccinated.
Other Republican-backed amendments to the FAA bill also failed, including one provision which would have made Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg disclose his travel on private jets paid for by taxpayers. Buttigieg has been criticized in recent months over his use of private planes.
“This week, I was proud to fight for taxpayers & transparency with my amendment to obtain Secretary Buttigieg’s private jet records. Air travel has become chaotic in our country, including the first FAA full ground stoppage since 9/11. I’ll never stop fighting against the Swamp!” Miller tweeted.
With 10 Republicans voting against the amendment, it failed 216-219, including Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO), Reps. Troy Balderson (R-OH), Jack Bergman (R-MI), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Garret Graves (R-LA), David Joyce (R-OH), Jennifer Kiggans (R-VA), Marcus Molinaro (R-NY), and Brandon Williams (R-NY). Three Democrats — Reps. Katie Porter and Ted Lieu of California and Yadira Caraveo of Colorado — voted for the amendment.
A spokesperson for Balderson said that the vote against the amendment was by accident and that he intended to file to get his vote changed.
Another amendment that was shot down was by freshman Tennessee Republican Rep. Andy Ogles, who attempted to pass an amendment “to clarify that a study of turbulence should include a focus on weather conditions rather than climate change since weather is the proximate cause.”
Ultimately, the House voted 351-69 to reauthorize the FAA for five more years appropriating billions of dollars for airport funding, also addressing runway safety and ticket refunds in the bill.