GOP AGs Warn Millions At Risk Over Biden’s Recent FAA Push

 February 21, 2024

In a move that has attracted national attention, a group of attorneys general from across the United States has raised concerns about the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) approach to hiring.

They argue that the FAA's emphasis on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in its hiring practices might jeopardize passenger safety by placing diversity ahead of merit and expertise.

Led by Kansas Republican Attorney General Kris Kobach, the coalition of eleven attorneys general penned a letter to FAA Administrator Michael Whitaker. This letter critiques the FAA's pivot from merit-based hiring toward practices focused on diversity.

The FAA's five-year strategic plan, aiming at workforce diversification by altering hiring standards, sits at the heart of their concerns. Further anxiety arises from past efforts by the FAA to hire individuals with significant intellectual and psychiatric disabilities.

During a "Year of Inclusion" symposium, FAA employees underwent racial sensitivity training, a move underscored in the letter denoting a shift in focus. "We are troubled by some recent reports regarding your agency’s hiring practices and priorities," the attorneys general expressed in their cautionary message.

The Balance Between Diversity and Safety

The critique from the attorney general hinges on a delicate balance. They argue a concerning trade-off between diversification efforts and job performance outcomes within the FAA exists. This trade-off, they suggest, could potentially impact the agency's primary mission: ensuring the safety and efficacy of American air travel.

"It seems that the FAA has placed ‘diversity’ bean counting over safety and expertise, and we worry that such misordered priorities could be catastrophic for American travelers," the letter reads. This sentiment is echoed in the concerns raised over recent FAA missteps that have led to widespread travel disruptions and heightened safety concerns.

These issues, coupled with the critical importance of aviation safety highlighted by the voluminous daily flights and passengers in the U.S., led to a stern urge from the attorneys general. They call for reevaluating hiring priorities, emphasizing the necessity of merit and safety over diversity initiatives.

Response and the Road Ahead

Kris Kobach specifically points to the FAA's challenges, including system failures that resulted in significant flight delays and a recent increase in near-miss incidents.

"Given the recent FAA failure that delayed thousands of flights last January and the recent spike in near aircraft collisions, I am very worried that the FAA has lost sight of its primary goal — ensuring the safety of American skies," he warns.

The letter has garnered signatures from attorneys general hailing from states including Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, and Texas. As of this report, the FAA has yet to respond to the concerns raised formally.

This unfolding discussion spotlights a critical junction for the FAA. On the one hand, pursuing diversity within its workforce is a commendable goal, aiming to reflect the breadth of America's population. On the other, the paramount importance of safety in air travel necessitates a workforce selected foremost for their merit and expertise.

The attorneys general's letter serves as a poignant reminder of these competing interests, urging a course correction that they believe is essential for the well-being of American air travelers.


The letter from the coalition of attorneys general to the FAA represents an intersection of societal values and practical safety concerns. It highlights the critical debate on how institutions, especially those responsible for public safety, should navigate the balance between inclusivity and operational excellence.

As the FAA contemplates its next steps, the aviation community and its passengers await decisions that ensure the skies remain a safe avenue for travel, undergirded by both diversity and uncompromising competence.

About Victor Winston

Victor is a freelance writer and researcher who focuses on national politics, geopolitics, and economics.

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