WASHINGTON -

Congress has been strangely silent as Boeing, its airline customers and federal safety regulators struggled over the past two months to solve problems with the new 787 Dreamliner's fire-plagued batteries.

Despite the plane's grounding and the safety issues raised by its cutting-edge technology, there have been no congressional hearings or news conferences focusing on the problems, and little commentary from lawmakers who normally pounce at the first sign of trouble.

The unusual bipartisan silence reflects Boeing's political clout, wielded by legions of lobbyists, fueled by hefty political campaign contributions and by the company's importance as a huge employer and the nation's single largest exporter.

Few companies are as well positioned as Boeing to fend off a potentially damaging public investigation.