Ted Cruz (Republican from Texas) stated Wednesday that the nominee of President Biden to lead the Federal Aviation Administration’s next leadership is not qualified.
Cruz, a senator from Commerce, stated that the next FAA administrator must have “decades” of aviation experience and that Phil Washington, the nominee before him, does not possess the required experience.
“Phil Washington, the nominee before us had a long, honorable career as a military officer. Cruz stated that he doesn’t have any experience in safety aviation. He is simply not qualified for this position.
Washington currently serves as the CEO at Denver International Airport (DIA). Biden first proposed him last year. However, he was unable to move forward due to concerns about his experience. Further delays in his confirmation have been caused by claims of discriminatory and retaliatory actions by Washington at DIA as well as his involvement with a corruption investigation at LA Metro.
Washington was the CEO of LA Metro. The hotline was discovered to have cost more than $8,000 per call. It was also awarded to a charity managed by a close friend. Cruz called on the Senate not to confirm Washington’s wrongdoing. However, Cruz said that he believes Cruz is right to ask for a slow process in his nomination due to these and other whistleblower allegations of misconduct.
Cruz attacked Biden’s selection of Washington as the FAA’s head Wednesday in his opening remarks, accusing the White House and the FAA of “playing politics” with the safety of the flying public.
He stated that Washington’s past management of city transit agencies was marked by “mismanagement” and “wasteful spending.” He cited news reports that Washington tried to install a $200,000 sauna at the LA Metro’s employees gym. He also referred to his reported “lavish expenditure” as city buses “broke and caught fire because of lack of money.”
The New York Times reported that the Denver rail project, which Washington managed, ran into a $2 billion plus deficit. It has also fallen over 30 years behind schedule. Cruz stated that Mr. Washington, another Denver official, spent more than $100,000 on a junket trip to Africa last month to gain support for Denver’s airport. “Government waste, delayed budget projects and government waste are things we don’t want to continue at the FAA,” Cruz said.
Cruz also strongly criticized Washington’s diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives at LA Metro & DIA.
Cruz stated that safety, and not political posturing, must be the top priority of the FAA.