House votes not to reinstate pilots let go over COVID vaccine

by Renata

On Thursday, the House of Representatives voted on two bills to address the ongoing shortage of airline pilots.

The first bill, introduced by Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.), would have allowed pilots fired for refusing to comply with President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate to return to their jobs. The Securing Growth and Robust Leadership in American Aviation Act would have also prohibited the Federal Aviation Administration from requiring mask and vaccine mandates for airline employees.

The House ultimately rejected the bill in a 294-141 vote. The bill only received one Democrat vote.

But, the lower chamber passed a reauthorization of the FAA, adding several amendments to address the ongoing pilot shortage. The measure raises the retirement age for pilots from 65 to 67 and introduces programs to recruit new air traffic controllers as well as other airport staff.

The Airline Pilots Association opposed the raise in the retirement age, describing it as an inadequate solution and potentially unsafe.