Sen. Graham speaks about air travel ‘crisis,’ subpoena and gay marriage
GREENVILLE, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - Senator Lindsey Graham held press conference in Greenville on Monday to discuss a bill he is introducing to change pilot retirement age. It is the first press conference Graham has held in South Carolina since the announcement he will be ordered to testify in the Georgia election probe.
Let Experienced Pilots Fly Act
Graham spoke at 11:30 a.m. at the Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport about what he believes is a “crisis” in the air travel industry.
He said lately, when a flight arrives on time he feels like he’s “won the lottery.”
He introduced the Let Experienced Pilots Fly Act to increase pilot retirement age from 65 to 67. If passed, pilots over age 65 would be required to maintain first-class medical certification, which must be renewed every six months.
Graham says thousands of qualified pilots are being “forced to retire” each year as flight cancellations continue due to staffing shortages.
In 2007, the retirement age for pilots was raised from 60 to 65. Graham said when that happened, “the sky did not fall” despite opposition. Graham’s new bill has also received opposition from pilots’ unions and Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg.
“The answer is not to keep the Baby Boomer generation in the cockpit indefinitely,” Buttigieg said on FOX News Sunday. “The answer is to make sure that we have as many and as good pilots ready to take their place — to have a stronger pipeline.”
Georgia Election Probe
A grand jury is subpoenaing Graham in the investigation into whether or not former President Donald Trump tried to overturn the 2020 election in Georgia.
Attorneys for Graham said in a court filing earlier in July that he wasn’t trying to interfere in the Georgia election when he asked state officials to reexamine some absentee ballots.
At Monday’s press conference, Graham said he had not been served with the subpoena yet but he would go to Georgia when he received it.
“I will fight this,” Graham said. “I think this is Constitutional overreach and I’m confident the courts will take care of it.”
Respect for Marriage Act
Graham also answered questions about the Respect for Marriage Act, which is headed to the Senate. The bill would require the government to recognize the validity of same-sex marriages.
Graham said he believes the decision regarding same-sex marriage should be made at the state level by elected officials. He supported the Defense of Marriage Act, which allowed states to oppose gay marriage.
However, Graham said he wanted to put the discussion about issues like same-sex marriage and abortion rights “on hold” to pass his Let Experience Pilots Fly Act.
“If you’re going to the airport tomorrow - whether you’re gay, straight, Libertarian, vegetarian, pro-life or pro-choice - you want to get where you’re going,” Graham said.
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