Sen. Vance Makes FAA Chief Squirm During Questioning Over ‘Racial Equity’ & ‘Inclusive Language’ Guidelines
Ohio Senator J.D. Vance, R., grilled Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Commissioner Billy Nolen on Wednesday after it was revealed that the FAA’s new budget would include a focus on promoting “inclusive language” and “racial equity.”
The 2023 FAA budget incorporates aspects of an almost 200-page guidance document from 2021, which proposed replacing terms like ‘airman’ and ‘cockpit’ with more inoffensive and gender-neutral terminology.
Subscribe to Florida Jolt Newsletter!
During a Senate Commerce Committee hearing, Vance asked, “Did the FAA issue a 176-page guidance document changing notices to airmen to notices of air mission in December of 2021?” Nolen answered in the affirmative, to which Vance responded, “This was in part to avoid using the gendered term ‘Airmen,’ correct?” Nolen again answered, ‘yes.’
The commissioner then confirmed that the FAA hosted a summit in November 2021 centered around “inclusive language.”
Vance pressed Nolen for more details. “Okay, during this summit, which had a solicitation published in the Federal Register, Deputy Administrator Mims stated that when we use terms like ‘airmen’ or ‘unmanned aircraft’… we’re sending a message that only men belong in the Aerospace Community?” Vance laughed at the report before asking Nolen, “do you agree with that?”
Nolen defended the FAA summit, saying that the effort to introduce “inclusive language” was crucial to reaching “underrepresented groups.”
Vance then cited a few more examples, pointing out that the FAA was moving to replace words like ‘cockpit’ and ‘wife’ for being too offensive.
“Is that something you support?” Vance asked.
“I’d have to give that one some more thought,” Nolen replied.
Vance stifled another laugh. “I would hope that the word ‘wife’ is something we can all agree is a reasonable vocabulary word that most Americans use in their daily life.”
Referring to a drone advisory inclusive language guide, Sen. JD Vance asks Acting FAA Administration Billy Nolen if eliminating the word "wife" is something he'd support.
Nolen says: "I'd have to give that one some more thought." pic.twitter.com/Rm6umMRxwy
— Forbes (@Forbes) February 15, 2023
The senator continued to ask about the FAA summit, including one panel entitled “How the FAA is Pushing Gender Language Boundaries.” Vance slammed the commissioner for the FAA’s obsession over “inclusive language” and suggested there may be some connection to the organization’s recent mishaps.
“It strikes me that preoccupying ourselves so much with the words that we use rather than the work that we do, especially as our infrastructure appears to be crumbling and we’ve had major flight outages the last couple of years, is at best, a distraction and at worst a thing that takes attention away from focusing on the real problems.”
‘Buttigieg Hammered For Silence on East Palestine Disastrous Explosion, ‘We Are Ruled By Unserious People”
Wrapping up his speaking time, Vance concluded by saying that a pilot offended by words like ‘wife’ or ‘cockpit’ probably should not be trusted to handle the operation of a massive passenger aircraft.
“Rather than kowtowing to people who are fragile, maybe we should actually say if you’re so worried about the words that we are using, you shouldn’t be flying.”
Follow Florida Jolt on Twitter
A technology failure in the FAA’s computer systems in January halted 11,000 flights and led to the cancellation of 1,300 more. Nolen has served as acting commissioner since March 2022, when his predecessor resigned in the middle of his 5-year term.