by Donald Wood
Last updated: 9:58 AM ET, Tue March 28, 2023
United States President Joe Biden's nominee to run the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has withdrawn his name from consideration.
According to The Associated Press, Denver International Airport CEO Phillip Washington withdrew his name from consideration after he received a lack of support in the Senate, a move Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg blamed on "undeserved and partisan attacks."
Republicans called Washington unqualified due to his lack of aviation experience and some Democrats were indecisive with their support. Senate Commerce Committee Chair Maria Cantwell called off a scheduled vote last week due to a lack of necessary votes.
While Washington previously ran transit agencies in Denver and Los Angeles, he only had two years of experience as CEO of the Denver airport. The FAA has lacked a Senate-confirmed administrator since March 2022.
With so much turmoil in the FAA following several near collisions, mass cancellations during the Winter Holiday travel period and a rise in unruly passenger incidents, Senator Ted Cruz said Washington's inexperience was a major issue.
Several government officials believe acting FAA administrator Billy Nolen could win bipartisan support, as he is a former pilot who previously held several safety jobs at three airlines and with the FAA.
"Given the significant challenges facing the FAA, this wasn't the time for an administrator who needed on-the-job training," Senator Cruz said. "The Biden administration must now quickly name someone to head the FAA who has an extensive aviation background, can earn widespread bipartisan support in the Senate, and will keep the flying public safe."
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