CHEYENNE, Wyo. — U.S. Sen. Cynthia Lummis held a press conference Thursday morning to discuss her support for new legislation, including bills to end potential military force in Iraq and raise the commercial pilot age.
The senator also reflected on Wyoming’s stance against abortion and barring transgender girls from participating in sports, and shared her thoughts on the upcoming 2024 election.
Lummis said she is co-sponsoring S.316, along with 18 other senators, which would repeal the 1991 and 2002 resolutions authorizing the use of military force in Iraq.
If passed, Congress would symbolically reassert its ability to declare war and the president would no longer have broad powers to conduct military operations without the Legislature’s approval.
The legislation passed the Senate chamber 68–27 on March 16.
“It’s an effort to move away from models of ‘forever wars,'” Lummis said, “[which are wars] that, once authorized, are never ended.”
Another bill Lummis will co-sponsor, along with multiple senators including Lindsey Gram, R-SC, and Mark Kelly, D-AZ, will provide “safer and [more] adequate” parking for truckers.
“You think about how many trucking miles are spent on Interstate 80 and I-25, and think about our weather and wind conditions,” she said. “There just needs to be some more opportunities for truckers to have safe parking.”
Lummis said she and several senators are also reintroducing a bill that would raise the age limit for pilots to help combat Wyoming’s pilot shortage.
The Let Experienced Pilots Fly Act bill would raise the mandatory commercial pilot retirement age from 65 to 67.
Under current laws, about 5,000 pilots will retire within the next year, potentially leading to more flight cancellations nationwide, according to a recent press release from the office of Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC.
“I know I’ve been frustrated sitting at the airport for hours on end,” Lummis said. “A plane gets in and you think you’re going to get back to Wyoming from Denver, but lo and behold, there is no pilot to fly the plane.”
Legislative Session and Social Issue Bills
As a former member of the Wyoming Legislature, Lummis said she does not want to “weigh in” on how lawmakers handled the 2023 General Session.
“When our congressional delegation would weigh in from Washington, D.C. on the work of the Wyoming Legislature at the time, it was not terribly welcomed,” she said.
Lummis said it would have been “fun” to see lawmakers debate the bills Speaker Albert Sommers “pocket-vetoed” this session. However, she believes Sommers had a rational basis for his actions.
“I do think there is a rational basis for his decision,” Lummis said. “Whether that is the same decision I would have made if I was in his shoes is kind of irrelevant.”
Lummis said she does support restricting girls’ sports to those who “do not have Y chromosomes” as people “who are born male have physiological advantages.”
“There should be availability for trans people to participate in sports,” she said, “but I think they should participate within a category for trans people.”
Gov. Mark Gordon allowed Senate File 133, which bans biological males in grades seven through 12 from participating in girls’ sports, to pass without his signature on March 18.
When asked about the recent laws restricting abortion in the state, Lummis said she is pro-life and supports the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 2022 decision to return abortion policy to the states.
She said Wyoming is going through “all the procedures that will happen when the state is asserting its role as the appropriate identity of government to address these issues.”
House Bill 152 prohibits all abortions except in cases of rape, incest or medical emergency, while Senate File 109 ban pills for abortions. Both were also signed into law by Governor Gordon on March 18.
A Jackson District Court judge blocked HB 152 on March 22, keeping abortions legal in Wyoming for now.
Lummis didn’t comment on whether she would endorse former president Donald Trump in 2024, but said she will stay neutral in the primary as her “dear friend” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is also expected to run.
Sen. Tim Scott, R-SC, who serves with Lummis on the Senate Banking Committee, is also considering the presidential bid.
“I will likely be staying neutral in the primary and supporting whoever emerges from Republican primary,” she said.