Senate confirms TSA chief, FAA nominee in limbo

Senate confirms TSA chief, FAA nominee in limbo

Written by David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Senate voted 77-18 on Thursday to confirm David Pekosky as the head of the Transportation Security Administration for another term, while the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) nominee is still awaiting a hearing.

Pekosky was nominated by former President Donald Trump in 2017 for a five-year term and was nominated by President Joe Biden in May for a new term.

The Transportation Security Administration, established by Congress in November 2001 after the September 11 attacks, is responsible for security operations at 430 U.S. airports and is the primary federal agency for the security of highways, railroads, mass transit systems, and pipelines.

In July, Biden nominated Denver International Airport CEO Phil Washington, a former Biden Department of Transportation official, to head the Federal Aviation Administration. Washington began holding meetings with members of the Senate Commerce Committee.

The job has been vacant since March 31 when Steve Dixon, whom Trump nominated for the position in 2019, resigned midway through his five-year term. Billy Nolen, the FAA’s chief flight safety officer, runs the agency on a temporary basis.

The next FAA official will face questions about the agency’s oversight of aircraft maker Boeing (NYSE:).

Senator Roger Wicker, the Commerce Committee’s top Republican, had earlier expressed “doubts” about Washington due to his “lack of aviation experience.”

“Now I am deeply disturbed to find out the name of the candidate in a search warrant linking him to allegations of corruption in the Los Angeles metro,” he said on Wednesday.

Washington, the former chief executive of the Los Angeles Public Transportation System, told Bloomberg News Thursday that “all the allegations are false.”

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Senator Maria Cantwell, chair of the Commerce Committee, said Thursday in a statement that all nominees have gone through a confirmation process that includes “a careful and thorough review of the individual’s qualifications. Mr. Washington’s nomination and all of his background is now undergoing this process.”

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