Senate confirms Trump's pick to lead FAA
© Getty Images
The Senate confirmed President TrumpDonald TrumpKushner lands book deal, slated for release in 2022 Biden moves to undo Trump trade legacy with EU deal Progressives rave over Harrison's start at DNC MORE’s nominee to lead the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Wednesday, giving the agency its first Senate-confirmed head in roughly a year and a half.

Senators voted 52-40, breaking down along party lines, on former Delta Air Lines executive Steve Dickson.
ADVERTISEMENT

Dickson’s confirmation came after the last Senate-approved administrator, Michael Huerta, departed at the conclusion of his five-year term. The agency has been lead in an acting capacity since then by Daniel Elwell. Trump reportedly considered his former personal pilot to lead the FAA but later abandoned the idea. 
 
The agency has been under scrutiny because of its previous approval of Boeing 737 Max planes. In the past year, two such planes have crashed in other countries, resulting in 346 deaths.
 
FAA regulators said late last month that they had discovered new risks in the plane during a simulator test.
 
No Democrats voted for Dickson on Wednesday. Sen. Maria CantwellMaria Elaine CantwellSenate Democrats threaten to block 2026 World Cup funds unless women's soccer team get equal pay Senate confirms Biden's top scientist Senate chaos: Johnson delays exit as votes pushed to Friday MORE (D-Wash.) said last month that Dickson was involved in alleged retaliation against a Delta pilot who brought up safety concerns. 
 
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) also cited the alleged incident in explaining his "no" vote on Wednesday, saying “whistleblowers play a vital role, and so they need protection. They should never be retaliated against they should never be objects of retribution."
 
But Republicans praised Dickson, making him all but guaranteed to be confirmed. Republicans hold 53 seats in the Senate, meaning Dickson could lose up to three GOP senators and still be confirmed. 
 
"He is a capable leader with a proven ability to manage large organizations. At Delta, Captain Dickson worked to improve safety standards, and he is committed to ensuring aviation safety remains the FAA’s top priority," Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) said in a statement on Wednesday. "Captain Dickson is the right man for the job, and I know he will continue to make Georgia proud in this new role.”