The Canadian Press
WILMINGTON, Del. — Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, leaders of the Democratic Party’s left wing, are at risk of being excluded from the senior ranks of President-elect Joe Biden’s administration as the incoming president balances the demands of his party’s progressive base against the political realities of a narrowly divided Senate.The liberal New England senators remain interested in serving in Biden’s Cabinet, but even some of their allies recognize they face major political hurdles getting there. Sensing disappointment, progressive leaders have reluctantly begun to express support for less-controversial alternatives.Warren, whose political career has been defined by efforts to diminish the power of big banks, is the progressive movement’s top choice for Treasury secretary. Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist, reiterated his desire to serve as Biden’s Labor secretary on Thursday, describing himself as particularly well-suited “to focus on the many crises facing working families in this country.”Whether he is included in Biden’s cabinet or not, Sanders warned Biden not to freeze out progressives as he shapes his government.“It seems to me pretty clear that progressive views need to be expressed within a Biden administration,” Sanders told The Associated Press. “It would be, for example, enormously insulting if Biden put together a ‘team of rivals’ — and there’s some discussion that that’s what he intends to do — which might include Republicans and conservative Democrats — but which ignored the progressive community. I think that would be very, very unfortunate.”The scrutiny on Biden’s staffing decisions reflects the tremendous pressure the president-elect faces as he cobbles together a senior team to execute his policy priorities drawing from his party’s disparate factions. He will almost certainly face criticism no matter whom he picks for the most powerful positions, but he can perhaps least afford to lose the support of his vocal progressive base.In a nod to the left wing, Biden’s transition team has hired Analilia Mejia, a Sanders’ adviser who served as his presidential campaign’s political director, to work on progressive outreach. It’s unlikely, however, that mid-level hires during the transition will be enough to satisfy progressives.Biden told reporters Thursday that he had finalized his choice for Treasury secretary and said the pick would be “someone who will be accepted by all elements of the Democratic party, moderates and progressives.” He sidestepped a specific question about Sanders joining his Cabinet as he walked off stage.Likely facing a divided Congress that could push back against the vast majority of his agenda, Biden is eyeing a series of executive actions to be implemented by his Cabinet that would force significant changes in health care, banking, environmental regulation, immigration and foreign policy, among other major issues.Biden’s transition team declined to comment publicly about Sanders or Warren.And while progressives have not given up hope that one or both might still be nominated, they acknowledged the possibility — even the likelihood — that the high-profile liberal senators would remain in the Senate.“It’s safe to say that Elizabeth Warren has definitely earned the trust and the ear of Joe Biden, and will surely have an influential role in agenda setting going forward whether it’s being a very powerful senator or a more formal role in his administration,” said Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, among Warren’s most vocal supporters in Washington. “No matter what, she’ll be powerful when it comes to agenda setting for the Democratic Party.”Waleed Shahid, a spokesman for the Sanders-aligned Justice Democrats, said his group and others recognize that “not every single member of the administration is going to be progressive — that’s not who Joe Biden is.” He said progressives simply want ”adequate representation” in the Cabinet.“We are advocating for them to be included, but we also have backup choices,” he said of Warren and Sanders.Indeed, liberal groups have tried to rally behind lesser-known progressive leaders such as Michigan Rep. Andy Levin for Labor secretary and former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen to lead the Department of Treasury.Like their party’s establishment leaders, progressives understand the political challenge Democrats would face should either Sanders or Warren leave the Senate. In both cases, Republican governors would have the ability to nominate their replacements, at least in the short-term.Sanders noted that Vermont Gov. Phil Scott has promised to fill a prospective vacancy with an independent who caucuses with Democrats, just as Sanders does.“Gov. Scott is a moderate Republican. He is not a right-wing Republican,” Sanders said. “He understands that this is a progressive state and the wise and appropriate thing to do would be, as an interim appointment before the special election took place — would be to appoint somebody whose views were consistent with mine.”In a best-case scenario for Democrats, the Senate would be divided 50-50 in January when the new Congress is sworn in, with Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris in position to break the tie. But that’s only if Democrats win both of Georgia’s special elections on Jan. 5.Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell holds great sway over Biden’s Cabinet nominees regardless of which party ends up in control.The Senate’s top Republican has yet to tip his hand about how he’ll navigate the confirmation process, preferring to wait for Trump to accept the election results and Georgia’s Senate elections to play out. But Senate Democrats expect McConnell to impose a full-scale blockade on Cabinet picks he doesn’t like.Biden will be the first Democrat president in modern times trying to set up a first-term administration without his party controlling the Senate, a rare dynamic that will play out before a bitterly divided nation and a hyper-partisan Senate.The more controversial potential nominees, Warren and Sanders among them, would likely struggle to win confirmation. Some are already running into partisan opposition.Previewing the intense battles ahead, Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz has been producing a series of campaign-style videos opposing both Warren and Sanders.Yet there is also evidence of resistance from Biden’s own coalition, which includes moderate Democrats, independents and even some Republicans.“Choosing Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders, who represent the far left — and in Bernie’s case an openly socialist view of the world — is not the leadership that the American people just voted for,” said Jennifer Horn, a co-founder of the anti-Trump Lincoln Project that spent millions to support Biden’s presidential bid. “I think Joe Biden understands that.”___AP writers Lisa Mascaro and Chris Rugaber in Washington contributed.Steve Peoples, The Associated Press
Families of 737 Max crash victims say plane is still unsafe, demand public inquiry – Canada News – Castanet.net
Families of Canadians killed in the Boeing 737 Max crash say the plane remains unsafe and should stay grounded, despite being cleared for takeoff by regulators in the United States.
Paul Njoroge, whose wife, three children and died in the March 2019 crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, told the House of Commons transport committee Tuesday the aircraft is still “unstable.”
He and Chris Moore, whose daughter was among the 18 Canadian citizens who lost their lives, are calling for an independent inquiry into Transport Canada’s validation of Boeing’s best-selling airplane.
Moore says Canadians deserve to know why Transport Canada did not take action even after issuing a letter of concern before the crash about the Max plane’s anti-stall system, which safety regulators have said U.S. authorities failed to properly review.
Transport Canada said last week its recertification standards for the Max 8 diverge from those of U.S. regulators, including added procedures on the flight deck and differences in pilot training.
The Max planes have been grounded since March 2019 after the deadly crashes of a Lion Air flight near Jakarta in October 2018 and the Ethiopian Airlines flight less than five months later.
Victims' families tell MPs Boeing 737 Max should stay grounded for now – CBC.ca
Canadians who lost loved ones in a deadly crash on a Boeing 737 Max plane in 2019 told MPs today that the aircraft should remain grounded in Canada, even though the U.S. has cleared it to fly again.
Family members of people killed in 737 Max crashes told the House of Commons’ transport committee this afternoon they want Canada to launch an independent inquiry into the crashes before clearing the planes for service.
“I believe the plane is still unsafe to fly,” said Paul Njoroge, who lost his entire family last year on Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302.
“I still have nightmares about how my wife must have felt helpless, seeing the fear in our children’s eyes, knowing they were about to die.
“We want Transport Canada to go back to the drawing board … I think that’s the only way Canadians can feel safe stepping onto a 737 Max.”
Canada’s 737 Max fleet has been grounded for 20 months in response to two deadly crashes. In March 2019, an Ethiopian Airlines flight plunged from the air southeast of the capital Addis Ababa minutes after takeoff, killing everyone onboard — including 18 Canadians and a family of permanent residents to Canada. Five months earlier, another 737 Max owned by Lion Air plunged into the Java Sea shortly after takeoff, killing all 189 passengers.
Ethiopia’s investigation report pointed the finger at Boeing, saying flaws in the aircraft’s design caused the crash. Inaccurate sensor readings activated the MCAS anti-stall system, which pointed the plane’s nose down as pilots struggled to right it, the report said.
Transport Canada has been working with the United States’ Federal Aviation Administration and received a directive listing changes to the aircraft. The department’s safety experts have been doing their own independent review of those proposed changes to determine if the 737 Max is safe to fly again.
Transport Minister Marc Garneau’s office said today the experts’ work is expected to conclude “very soon.”
‘Desolation and pain’
The families said today they want Transport Canada to explain why it approved the planes to fly in the first place, and why the fleet wasn’t grounded immediately after the crash in 2018.
Njoroge’s wife Carolyne Karanja, their three children (Ryan Njuguna, Kellie Pauls and Rubi Pauls) and mother-in-law Anne Karanja all died on board Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302. He reminded MPs the 737 Max they were on blasted a nine-meter-deep crater in the ground when it hit.
“The tragic death of my family left me in a chasm of solitude, desolation and pain,” he said. “I am here today because I believe that the crash that killed my family was preventable.”
Njoroge said aviation regulators around the country were not “diligent enough” when they decided to allow the 737 Max to fly.
“Certainly, Canada would not have lost its 18 citizens and an unknown number of Canadian permanent residents had Transport Canada made prudent decisions after the crash of Lion Air Flight 610,” he said.
Garneau has been criticized by victims’ families for not grounding Canada’s 737 Max fleet of 41 planes after the first crash, and for Canada being one of the last countries to do so after the second crash.
Families want to know what data Canada had after the first crash when it issued a directive to pilots to memorize a 5-step process to deal with a potential problem with the plane.
Garneau said in March 2019 it would have been “premature” to ground the fleet before investigators could pinpoint the cause of the second crash.
Garneau told the transport committee in March 2020 that Canada was “scrambling for information” and “had no clear picture of what happened” until data showed similarities to the Lion Air crash. Garneau said he notified the U.S. on March 13, 2019, and it followed suit two hours after Canada grounded the plane.
Too many unanswered questions, said Chris Moore
Chris Moore’s 24-year-old daughter Danielle died in the Ethiopian crash. He reminded the committee that Transport Canada had questions about the 737 Max as early as 2016 — but Canada didn’t get answers from Boeing and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration before it approved the plane as safe to fly, according to government documents.
The documents show Transport Canada’s test pilots asked for more information about the plane’s automated anti-stall system before the 737 Max was certified, but didn’t get an explanation in time.
“Our government didn’t fully understand what they were validating,” said Moore. “Transport Canada was essentially rubber-stamping a doomed MAX plane. Eighteen Canadians perished and our government shrugged.”
David Turnbull, Transport Canada’s director of national aircraft certification, told the committee in March 2020 that the questions pilots asked about the aircraft’s anti-stall system form a regular part of the certification process. He insisted Canada would never allow the planes to fly if it was aware of any safety issues.
In a statement, Garneau’s office said today that Transport Canada wanted to know if a “stall warning system, versus a stall protection system” was being used that would have required that a “higher degree of design integrity be met.”
“In the end, Transport Canada was satisfied that the systems in question represent a stall identification system.”
Moore said today there are still too many unanswered questions.
“Did any engineer recommend grounding the plane?” he asked. “Did Canadian and American authorities feel superior in their knowledge and downplay the Lion Air crash because it occurred in a developing country? Would Canada have grounded the Max if the crash happened in Canada?”
The U.S. House Transportation Committee’s investigation released damning details about how Boeing “jeopardized the safety of the flying public” to keep up with production pressures, and cited a “culture of concealment” at Boeing that involved hiding flaws with the new MCAS system from 737 MAX pilots.
Garneau’s office said if Canada approves the aircraft to fly again, there will be conditions.
“These differences will include additional procedures on the flight deck and pre-flight, as well as differences in training,” said Garneau’s director of communications Amy Butcher in a statement to CBC News.
The office insisted Canada will not allow the plane to fly again until Transport Canada “is fully satisfied that all its safety concerns have been addressed, and that enhanced flight crew procedures and training are in place in Canada.”
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