Senate panel approves Obama highway safety pick

President Obama’s nominee to lead the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NTHSA) was approved by Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee on Tuesday. 

Obama announced in November that he was tapping National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) member Mark Rosekind to lead the highway safety agency, which has come under fire for its handling of auto recalls by several car companies in the past year. 

Rosekind, who appeared before the lawmakers for the first time since receiving the nomination last week, will be the agency’s first full-time chief in nearly a year if he is eventually confirmed by the full Senate.

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The Highway Safety Administration has been operating with a full-time chief since its former Administrator David Strickland resigned at the beginning of the year. 

Deputy Highway Safety Administrator David Friedman has been leading the agency in the interim. 

The Senate transportation committee also approved nominees from Obama for the NTSB, transportation department and Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology on Tuesday.