Fourteen Republican legislators who hold their pilot’s licenses are asking President Biden not to nominate him to head the Federal Aviation Administration. He has “zero aviation experience.”
In a Thursday letter to Biden, the lawmakers stated that Washington had honorably served the nation in the Army but that he didn’t serve in an aircraft unit. He is not a pilot and has no aviation safety experience. Therefore, he is completely unqualified to head the federal agency that keeps the flying public safe.
They wrote that the FAA could not afford to be led “by someone who needs on the job training,” especially when the aviation system is dealing with huge safety challenges like multiple near-misses of airlines and the first nationwide ground stops of aircraft since September 11.
The letter’s signatories claimed that they collectively have logged thousands of hours flying, some even for the military. They claimed Washington had never flown a plane or worked for an airline, manufacturer, or air traffic controller.
They wrote that Washington’s aviation experience was limited to two years at Denver International Airport. Washington’s primary responsibility is for non-aviation issues such as parking, shops and buildings.
Sens. Ted Budd from North Carolina and Mike Rounds from South Dakota signed the letter, along with 12 “congressional pilots.”
The Senate Commerce Committee was hard on Washington because of his lack of aviation experience. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) urged senators for more information about Washington’s background and called him “woefully incompetent.”
Cruz predicted last week Washington would struggle to win the confirmation votes.
Next week, the Senate Commerce Committee will vote on Washington’s confirmation. If the vote is successful, the nomination would be sent to the Senate floor.