FAA nominee advances to full Senate vote

FAA nominee advances to full Senate vote

The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee voted Wednesday to advance President TrumpDonald John TrumpOklahoma City Thunder players kneel during anthem despite threat from GOP state lawmaker Microsoft moving forward with talks to buy TikTok after conversation with Trump Controversial Trump nominee placed in senior role after nomination hearing canceled MORE's nominee to lead the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), former Delta executive Stephen Dickson, to a vote before the full Senate. 

The committee vote was 14-12 along party lines and came as Democrats raised concerns about Dickson.

Sen. Maria CantwellMaria Elaine CantwellThe Hill's Coronavirus Report: Mike Roman says 3M on track to deliver 2 billion respirators globally and 1 billion in US by end of year; US, Pfizer agree to 100M doses of COVID-19 vaccine that will be free to Americans Overnight Energy: Supreme Court reinstates fast-track pipeline permit except for Keystone XL | Judge declines to reverse Dakota Access Pipeline shutdown OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Watchdog accuses Commerce of holding up 'Sharpiegate' report | Climate change erases millennia of cooling: study | Senate nixes proposal limiting Energy Department's control on nuclear agency budget MORE (Wash.), the committee's top Democrat, said that Dickson was involved in alleged retaliation against a Delta pilot who brought up safety concerns. 

She said that the pilot was made to see a psychiatrist who declared her manic and removed her from flying after she allegedly told Delta about issues with automation and pilot training.

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Cantwell said that a congressional investigation found that Dickson "did know, was involved with this pilot, did know what was happening, and failed to disclose it to this committee.”

Chairman Roger WickerRoger Frederick WickerThe Hill's Coronavirus Report: INOVIO R&D Chief Kate Broderick 'completely confident' world will develop a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine; GOP boxed in on virus negotiations Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers zero in on Twitter after massive hack | US, UK, Canada allege Russian hackers targeted COVID-19 vaccine researchers | Top EU court rules data transfer deal with the US is illegal Lawmakers zero in on Twitter following massive hack MORE (R-Miss.), however, praised Dickson's Air Force service and his experience at Delta. 

“He will bring commitment, experience and expertise necessary to lead the FAA,” he said, adding that Dixon was never accused of retaliation during his tenure at Delta.

As of Wednesday afternoon, a vote to confirm Dickson by the full Senate had not been scheduled. 

The FAA has faced increased scrutiny in recent weeks due to its past approval of Boeing 737 Max planes. In the last year, two such planes have crashed in other countries, resulting in 346 deaths.

The U.S. and other countries have grounded the planes.