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Biden’s choice to lead the Federal Aviation Administration wins endorsement from a key Senate panel

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden’s second pick to lead the Federal Aviation Administration was endorsed Wednesday by a Senate committee with no Republican opposition, signaling a clear path to final approval by the full Senate.

The Senate Commerce Committee approved Michael Whitaker’s nomination by voice vote.

Whitaker was the No. 2 official at FAA during the Obama administration and is currently the chief operating officer of a Hyundai affiliate working to build an air taxi aircraft.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, praised Whitaker for his “extensive aviation experience.”

Cruz led GOP opposition to Biden’s first FAA nominee, Denver International Airport CEO Phil Washington, who has spent most of his career working for transit agencies in Los Angeles and Denver. Cruz and others labeled him insufficiently knowledgeable about aviation.

The FAA has been without a Senate-confirmed leader since March 2022, even as it has tried to understand a surge in close calls between planes at major airports. The agency has been led by two acting administrators.

The Associated Press