President Joe Biden’s preferred choice to become the head of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has received the backing of a powerful Senate committee.
On Wednesday, October 18, 2023, the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation voted unanimously for Michael Whitaker to become the agency’s administrator, a position which has been vacant for over a year.
During the Obama administration, Whitaker was second in command of the FAA, so he is seen as the natural choice for the position.
“I appreciate Mr. Whitaker’s commitment to independent leadership, recruiting new talent and building a strong safety culture at the FAA,” said Democrat Maria Cantwell, the chair of the Senate Commerce Committee, during the meeting.
✅NEWS: The Senate Commerce Committee approved Michael Whitaker, President Biden’s nominee to be @FAANews Administrator.— Senate Commerce, Science, Transportation Committee (@commercedems) October 18, 2023
Michael Whitaker is ready to lead and make aviation safety the top priority. pic.twitter.com/PWjBJoRQ6y
The process of Whitaker becoming head of the FAA now moves to the full Senate for confirmation.
If he is successful in his application for the position, Whitaker will be joining the FAA at a time when there is alarm regarding the number of recent aircraft near misses in the US.
President Biden’s previous nomination for the post was the head of Denver International Airport (DEN), Phillip Washington.
However, Washington was unable to gain support from Republican Senators, particularly Senator Ted Cruz, who claimed the nominee did not hold enough knowledge about aviation.