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NotedDC – White House faces growing pressure on air travel

Democrats are pressing the Biden administration to fine airlines amid pilot and staff shortages, with thousands of flights canceled ahead of a busy travel season.

Airlines are struggling to keep up with demand amid the pandemic reversal, our colleagues report for The Hill, and the White House is facing growing pressure from politicians to fine airlines for delays .

John Fetterman, Pennsylvania’s Democratic Senate candidate, is calling on the Department of Transportation to fine airlines up to $27,500 per passenger for every flight where “they knew they didn’t have the staff to fly.” Fetterman argues that the government “has a responsibility to hold these airlines accountable.”

Meaning. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) wrote letters to 10 major national airlines, urging them to sort out their scheduling issues for the rest of the summer. They also asked them to provide information by mid-July on the number of delayed and canceled flights and the number of passengers who received refunds.

And the senator. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) applied to Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg on Wednesday, asking him to take action against airlines, such as fining them for delays and for scheduling flights they know they are unable to deliver. Buttigieg said in mid-June that his agency could take action against airlines that fail to meet consumer protection standards.

A bit of context: Airlines blame the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for not providing a staffing plan before the summer, but the FAA and the Biden administration argue that the $54 billion in pandemic relief funds should have allowed them to strengthen their staff.

Many lawmakers have also noted that under the former president obamathe DOT imposed restrictions on how long a plane could remain on the runway without being fined.

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Biden officials prepare for upcoming Supreme Court rulings

The Supreme Court is set to issue rulings on two back-to-back cases for the Biden administration on Thursday, the last day in office:

West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency

The Supreme Court is likely to weaken the EPA’s ability to regulate emissions from power plants, undermining the Biden administration’s agenda to fight climate change.

If the court rules against the EPA — following recent controversial gun and abortion rulings — expect protests to erupt around DC and other major cities.

  • Potential consequences of the decisionGoing through Rachel Frazin of The Hill
  • Something to watch: Youth Climate Group Sunrise DC Movement plans to demonstrate in court on Thursday along with other protest groups like Shut Down DC and Arm in Arm, organizer Mike Warburton told NotedDC.

Biden vs. Texas

The court will decide whether President Biden can end a Trump-era immigration policy known as the “stay in Mexico” rule, which requires Mexican asylum seekers to stay at the border during the processing of their requests.

  • Reporting by John Kruzel of The Hill that under Trump, more than 70,000 asylum seekers were returned to Mexico under this policy. Previously, they were allowed to seek asylum while in the United States.
  • Background: The decision follows 50 migrants found dead in a tractor-trailer near San Antonio, which Dick Durbin, Senate Majority Whip (D-Ill.) told Politico on Wednesday that he reignited stalled immigration reform talks.

GOODBYE, GOODBYE, BREYER

Justice Stephane Breyer made it official: he left the Supreme Court on thursday noon after the end of his current term.

  • The judge, who has served in the High Court since 1994 when he was appointed at the time-President Clintonwas a key element of the liberal wing.
  • It will be replaced by Ketanji Brown Jacksonwho will become the first black woman and the first former federal public defender to serve on the High Court.

You can watch a live stream of Jackson’s swearing-in ceremony on the Supreme Court’s website Thursday at noon. Learn more about Breyer’s retirement here

Alex Wagner set for new primetime roost

NBC News sees by Rachel Maddow reduction in prime time to host a podcast and focus on other long-term gigs for the network as a risk — but he hopes it pays off.

  • “It’s a great case study in this proliferation of platforms,” ​​said the president of NBCUniversal News Group. Caesar Conde said this week at the Aspen Ideas Festival.
  • Dominick Mastrangelo of The Hill writes that his change signals that NBC is ready to devote more energy to streaming and audio ventures that have failed for other major networks like CNN.

Alexander WagnerMSNBC journalist and political analyst, will fill in for Maddow four nights a week (Maddow will still host Mondays at 9 p.m. ET).

  • A big question: Will Wagner be able to attract as large an audience as Maddow? It’s something MSNBC has probably struggled with, given that Maddow has garnered some of the highest ratings in cable news.
  • President MSNBC Rashida Jones offered a glimpse to the New York Times of what Wagner’s show won’t sound like, “This isn’t a show where our hair is on fire and we’re screaming at each other, and we’re creating these manufactured moments of tension.”

MORE MOVEMENTS IN WASHINGTON

Karl Evers-Hillstrom of The Hill has a weekly roundup of how people are doing in the lobbying world (and you can send us your professional updates too!).

Here are some highlights:

  • Geoff Freeman will be the next President and CEO of the US Travel Association
  • Paul Sass will join Cassidy & Associates, stepping down from his role as Republican personnel director for the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee
  • Andrew Usick joined Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck LLP as Director of Policy
  • Michael held joined WilmerHale as an associate in the firm’s securities and financial services department.
  • Kelly Hitchcock joined Invariant LLC as a director working with the company’s financial services and tax clients
  • Christopher Gasparmost recently Director of Government Affairs at Textron Inc., joined BAE systems as Director of Government Affairs.

DC restaurants added to America’s best wine list

A familiar DC restaurant is open wine spectatorThe recently released list of Grand Prix winners, noted for its “extraordinary” wine service: Fiola, the upscale Italian joint just steps from the National Mall. (You can find all of the American Grand Award winners here.)

Nearly 50 other DC-area restaurants are honored for their wine selections, including several added this year and found here.

The Wine Spectator editorial team hosted guests and top winemakers at the Ronald Reagan Building earlier this month.

Scooters around the Capitol? It is complicated.

DC Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) marked a victory for residents who enjoy sledding on the Capitol grounds during the snowy winter months, but the drive to allow scooters around the complex faces continued hurdles.

Scooters, while not uncommon in the Capitol, are technically prohibited in the area. That won’t change anytime soon under a supply bill that the House has brought forward.

“I am pleased with DC’s victories in this bill,” Norton said in a statement Thursday. “However, I am disappointed that the report accompanying the bill continues to support the current ban on electric scooters at the Capitol Complex.”

That’s all for today. Stay with TheHill.com for the latest news and recommend NotedDC to others: thehill.com/noted.

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