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Republicans Accuse Biden of Playing Politics Amid His FAA Nominee Pick

AP Photo/LM Otero

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is vetoing President Joe Biden's pick for the next Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) leader. 

During a Senate Commerce Committee confirmation hearing, Cruz accused Biden of "playing politics" for nominating Phillip Washington, a former transit official and CEO of Denver International Airport since July 2021. 


"The nominee before us, Phil Washington, had a long and honorable career in the military. But he does not have any experience in aviation safety," Cruz said. "This, quite simply, is a position he is not qualified for." 

Republicans have raised concerns about Washington, claiming that he lacks experience, asserting that the Biden nominee's previous position was characterized by "mismanagement and wasteful spending."

As a CEO at the Los Angeles Metro, Washington reportedly attempted to install a $200,000 sauna in L.A. Metro's employee gym while city buses "broke down and caught fire due to lack of money." 

"The New York Times reported that a Denver rail project overseen by Mr. Washington ran up a $2 billion-plus deficit and has become over 30 years behind schedule. Just last month, Mr. Washington, another Denver official spent more than $100,000 on a junket to Africa to drum up support for Denver's airport," Cruz said, adding, "government waste and delayed over-budget projects are things we want to change at the FAA, not continue." 


Cruz is not the only Republican accusing the White House of treating the position as a "patronage job." Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss) also cautioned the senate to proceed carefully with Washington's nomination. 

"He is the wrong choice to lead the FAA and restore America's confidence in this struggling agency," Wicker said. 

Republicans have urged Biden to choose another nominee as the FAA faces heavy criticism after a year full of flight delays and cancellations, leaving thousands stranded. 

However, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) promised "to break this logjam" and make way for Washington's confirmation.

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