Eight Senate Republicans have penned a letter asking the Department of Justice not to put unruly passengers on a no-fly list, saying it "would seemingly equate them to terrorists."
In the letter, dated Monday, referred to the request from Delta Air Lines earlier this month to create such a list, and pointed to data showing that most of the recent incidents deal with refusal to follow the mask mandate, saying there is "significant uncertainty around the efficacy of this mandate."
"Creating a federal 'no-fly' list for unruly passengers who are skeptical of this mandate would seemingly equate them to terrorists who seek to actively take the lives of Americans and perpetrate attacks on the homeland," the letter reads. "The TSA was created in the wake of 9/11 to protect Americans from future horrific attacks, not to regulate human behavior onboard flights."
Airlines already have the right to ban unruly passengers from future flights on their own airlines, and Congress has given the Transportation Security Administration authority to consider requiring airlines to share their banned passenger lists, the senators wrote.
The Republicans signing the letter were Sens. Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming, Mike Lee of Utah, James Lankford of Oklahoma, Marco Rubio of Florida, Kevin Cramer of North Dakota, Ted Cruz of Texas, John Hoeven of North Dakota and Rick Scott of Florida.
In his own letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland earlier this month, Delta CEO Ed Bastian said there should be "zero tolerance" for any behavior that affects flight safety. Bastian said that while such incidents of bad behavior represent a small fraction of overall flights on Delta, the rate of incidents on the airline has increased nearly 100% since 2019.
"This action will help prevent future incidents and serve as a strong symbol of the consequences of not complying with crew member instructions on commercial aircraft," Bastian wrote.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
© 2022 Newsmax. All rights reserved.