Before deadly crashes, Boeing pushed for law that undercut oversight
The rules would turn the FAA into a "rubber stamp"
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With a few short paragraphs tucked into 463 pages of legislation last year, Boeing scored one of its biggest lobbying wins: a law that undercuts the government's role in approving the design of new airplanes.
For years, the government had been handing over more responsibility to manufacturers as a way to reduce bureaucracy. But those paragraphs cemented the industry's power, allowing manufacturers to challenge regulators over safety disputes and making it difficult for the government to usurp companies' authority.
Although the law applies broadly to the industry, Boeing, the nation's dominant aerospace manufacturer, is the biggest beneficiary.
An examination by The New York Times, based on interviews with more than 50 regulators, industry executives, congressional staff members and lobbyists, as well as drafts of the bill and federal documents, found that Boeing and its allies helped craft the legislation to their liking, shaping the language of the law and overcoming criticism from regulators.
In a stark warning as the bill was being written, the Federal Aviation Administration said that it would "not be in the best interest of safety."
A labor group representing agency inspectors raised concerns that the rules would turn the FAA into a "rubber stamp" that would only be able to intervene after a plane crashed "and people are killed," according to internal union documents reviewed by The Times.
Weeks after the law was passed, a Boeing 737 Max jet crashed...
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