President Joe Biden’s nominee to head the Federal Aviation Administration has withdrawn after receiving shaky support in the Senate.
The nominee, Denver International Airport CEO Phillip Washington, appeared to not have the support in the Senate, even with a Democrat majority, to be confirmed, The Associated Press reported.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg announced that Washington had withdrawn his nomination in a tweet on Saturday.
“The FAA needs a confirmed Administrator, and Phil Washington’s transportation & military experience made him an excellent nominee. The partisan attacks and procedural obstruction he has faced are undeserved, but I respect his decision to withdraw and am grateful for his service,” he said.
The Associated Press reported.
Republicans were united in opposition to Washington, calling him unqualified because of limited aviation experience. Democrats and allied independents still might have pushed the nomination through, but key senators on their side balked at supporting Biden’s pick.
Washington’s fate appeared settled when Senate Commerce Committee Chair Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., abruptly called off a scheduled vote last Wednesday — a sign that she lacked enough votes to move the nomination out of committee. She said some senators wanted more information about Washington.
“Phillip A. Washington was nominated by Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock and unanimously confirmed by the Denver City Council as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Denver International Airport. Prior to this, Washington was the CEO of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro). At Metro, Washington managed a budget of more than $8 billion and oversaw 11,000 employees that transported 1.2 million boarding passengers daily on a fleet of 2,200 clean-air buses and six rail lines. Washington also previously served as the CEO of Denver Regional Transportation District (RTD) and worked as the Assistant General Manager of RTD for nearly 10 years before being named CEO,” The White House said in announcing his nomination in July.
“Originally from the South Side of Chicago, Washington is a 24-year veteran of the U.S. Army, where he held the rank of Command Sergeant Major. He retired from active duty, is a disabled veteran and was awarded the prestigious Defense Superior Service Medal for exceptional service to his country. He holds a B.A. in Business from Columbia College, and an M.A. in Management from Webster University,” it said.
It comes amid other issues for Buttigieg since a train derailed in East Palestine, Ohio.
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