Biden picks Transportation official for acting FAA chief 

President Biden on Friday announced that Deputy Transportation Secretary Polly Trottenberg will serve as interim head of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as Biden struggles to get a permeant administrator in place.

Biden’s last pick, Phil Washington, withdrew his nomination in March amid criticism that he doesn’t have the proper experience.

 The FAA has been beset with high-profile mishaps, and with no administrator in place, the issues have largely fallen to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. Earlier this year, FAA dealt with an alarming uptick in close calls at U.S. airports and a national flight grounding January. 

“I am pleased to announce a team of experienced leaders to guide the FAA… and I have full confidence in Polly’s steady hand during the search for a permanent administrator,” Buttigieg said in a press release on Thursday.

The FAA has been without a permanent leader since March 2022, when Trump-appointed Administrator Steve Dickson stepped down.

The Transportation Department also announced the Biden intends to appoint Katie Thomson, the FAA’s current chief of staff, as the deputy administrator and Keith Washington, currently agency’s deputy assistant secretary for administration, will serve as acting chief of staff.

Before serving as deputy secretary, Trottenberg led the New York City Transportation Department from 2014 to 2020 and was a legislative staffer in the U.S. Senate for 12 years, as well as working at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

The White House has not announced a name for a permanent administrator. 

With the tight margins in the Senate, Biden has struggled to get some of his nominations through. His pick for Labor secretary, Julie Su, has faced a rocky road in the Senate with Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) not outright supporting her yet.

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