Nominee for FAA Administrator faces scrutiny at Senate hearing

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The FAA has been without a permanent leader since the former FAA Administrator Steve Dickson resigned one year ago. President Biden’s nominee, Phillip A. Washington, has faced criticism since he was nominated in July 2022 for a lack of aviation experience, most recently at a hearing before Congress on Wednesday.

Biden resubmitted his nomination in January and Washington stood before Congress Wednesday for consideration for the role, with many ranking members explaining concerns over his aviation safety record, legal concerns and experience.

Washington has been the CEO of the Denver International Airport (DEN) and served in the Army for 24 years, making it to the rank of command sergeant major. He served as the CEO of the Regional Transportation District and Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority before his role in Denver.

Some officials have felt his military background and many roles as CEO provide the discipline and leadership capabilities needed to run the organization.

“My broad transportation knowledge and real-world leadership experience of both military and transportation infrastructure systems serve me well,” Washington said, according to the New York Times.

Senator Ted Cruz has been outspoken in his disapproval of the candidate, stating he does not have a record of strong management, which is what many feel the FAA needs. In his opening remarks, Cruz spoke of numerous concerns over Washington’s management of money, public corruption investigations and recent allegations about discrimination in the workplace.