Greater than a dozen congressional Republicans are demanding President Biden withdraw his nominee to steer the Federal Aviation Administration over a scarcity of “aviation expertise.”
The 14 lawmakers penned a letter to Mr. Biden arguing the nominee, Phil Washington, was woefully unprepared to helm the company. The lawmakers, every of whom has a pilot’s license, famous that federal legislation requires the FAA chief to have some “expertise in a discipline immediately associated to aviation.”
“The FAA can’t afford to be led by somebody who wants on-the-job coaching, particularly at a time when our aviation system is going through large security challenges similar to a number of near-misses by airways and the primary nationwide floor cease of plane since 9/11,” they wrote within the letter Thursday.
Mr. Washington isn’t a pilot however has served because the CEO of the Denver Worldwide Airport since 2021. Between 2015 and 2020 he led the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority which is liable for working the town’s bus and subway traces.
“His aviation expertise is proscribed to working on the Denver airport for lower than two years,” the lawmakers wrote. “In that position, Mr. Washington is primarily liable for non-aviation issues, such because the airport’s retailers, eating places, parking, and buildings.”
If confirmed, Mr. Washington wouldn’t be the primary FAA administrator with no direct aviation background. Presidents Clinton and Obama appointed people to the publish who had served within the transportation sector however weren’t licensed pilots.
Mr. Clinton, for instance, appointed Jane Garvey as FAA administrator in 1997. Mrs. Garvey, a former director of Boston’s Logan Airport, was largely recognized for overseeing the “Large Dig” freeway challenge in Massachusetts.
Whatever the historical past, the GOP lawmakers mentioned the present FAA administrator ought to have an aviation background given the issues going through the company. In current months, the FAA has come underneath hearth after a collection of near-miss collisions.
Mr. Washington was nominated by the White Home for the FAA publish in July 2022. His nomination stalled amid opposition from Republicans within the Senate, which on the time was cut up 50-50 between the events. Democrats now have a 51-seat majority, although a number of senators are out on account of sickness.
The Senate is anticipated to vote Wednesday on the nomination.
Other than Mr. Washington’s lack of a pilot’s license, the nominee is going through questions on his administration skills.
Mr. Washington was beforehand named in two different lawsuits alleging normal discrimination and whistleblower retaliation throughout his tenure as CEO of Los Angeles’ Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
His identify additionally appeared in a felony search warrant issued by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Division in September 2022 probing prices of favoritism on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
A lately filed federal lawsuit by an worker of the Denver Airport alleges that underneath Mr. Washington’s management, he was topic to “threats” and “insupportable” working circumstances.
The lawsuit was introduced ahead by an worker of Hispanic descent who says his job was threatened after complaining about pay discrimination and racist feedback by a supervisor.
Mr. Washington has denied wrongdoing and mentioned the allegations being leveled are false.