Cruz floats promoting acting FAA chief amid Biden nomination row
"I think it's clear that Phil Washington is not going to have the votes," Cruz said.
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Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz on Wednesday floated the idea of promoting the acting head of the Federal Aviation Administration to the post in a permanent capacity amid an intense Senate battle over President Joe Biden's nominee for the position.
Cruz is a leading detractor of Biden nominee Phil Washington, the current CEO of the Denver International Airport. Republicans have questioned his qualifications given he has only held the post for 20 months and is facing a corruption investigation stemming from his time leading the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority.
"A point I would like to make to my Democratic colleagues on this committee, do you think Phil Washington could come anywhere close to Acting Administrator Nolen's knowledge? I think the answer is no," he said, per Politico. "I think it's clear that Phil Washington is not going to have the votes. I think a nominee like Acting Administrator [Billy] Nolen would receive widespread bipartisan support and could get confirmed quickly."
Nolen, for his part, asserted that he did not seek the post and supported Washington, saying "I do believe that Phil Washington is fully qualified, I support the president and I support the nomination."
Biden tapped Washington for the post more than seven months ago, though fierce opposition has delayed the confirmation. He is one of a host of Biden nominees to struggle in the Senate amid stiff Republican scrutiny. The president's pick for the Federal Communications Committee, Gigi Sohn, withdrew her candidacy this week after her nomination stalled in the Senate for roughly two years.
His pick to lead the IRS, Daniel Werfel, meanwhile, has also faced criticism and a vote on his nomination will soon take place, though West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin has vowed to oppose his confirmation, leaving Werfel's fate unclear for the moment.
The stall in the FAA nomination comes during a tumultuous time for travel in the U.S., with numerous airlines enacting mass cancellations due to weather and other issues, and intense criticism of the federal Department of Transportation for its seemingly sluggish response to such happenings.
Ben Whedon is an editor and reporter for Just the News. Follow him on Twitter.
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