Bipartisan Support Continues for Legislation to Convene a Coronavirus Task Force on Aviation Health and Safety
Senate Commerce Committee Ranking Member Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) joins Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), as well as Congressman Stephen F. Lynch (MA-08), in co-sponsoring the Ensuring Health Safety in the Skies Act. The legislation builds on COVID-19 response efforts and influenced a Biden administration executive-order calling for interagency cooperation to develop national public-health recommendations for domestic travel.
The Ensuring Health Safety in the Skies Act, which passed the Senate unanimously last year, instructs the Departments of Transportation, Health and Human Services, and Homeland Security to establish a joint task force on air travel during and after the coronavirus pandemic. This task force — advised by aviation, security and public health experts — will then develop recommended requirements, plans and guidelines to address the health, safety, security and logistical challenges for air travel moving forward.
"The coronavirus has had an enormous impact on every person and industry in the United States, but air travel has been uniquely affected by the ongoing emergency,” says Senator Markey. “That’s why experts across all of the relevant agencies and groups must come together to address the immediate challenges to safety in our skies, as well as start planning for a 'new normal' after the coronavirus subsides. We must think big and provide consistent solutions to all of the interconnected health risks that a global pandemic poses. I am proud to lead this bipartisan legislation with Senator Wicker, and I thank him for his partnership."
"The aviation industry has suffered severe impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, and travelers need confidence before returning to the skies,” says Ranking Member Wicker. “A government task force and advisory committee comprised of experts would work to address these challenges and ensure necessary safety and health policies are in place to protect workers and the flying public during and after the pandemic. I thank Senator Markey and Senator Blumenthal for their work on this critical issue."
A copy of the legislation can be found at https://www.markey.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/(1.29.2021)%20Bill%20--%20Ensuring%20Health%20Safety%20in%20the%20Skies%20Act%201-26-21.pdf.
The Ensuring Health Safety in the Skies Act has been endorsed by the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, the Massachusetts Port Authority, the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, the Air Line Pilots Association, the Airports Council International – North America, the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association, and SEIU 32BJ.