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Huerta Faces Confirmation Panel for Top FAA Spot

On June 21, the Senate Commerce, Science & Transportation Committee considered Michael Huerta’s nomination to serve as the next FAA administrator. The panel grilled Huerta on air traffic controller oversight, pilot fatigue rules, and NextGen implementation, but recessed indefinitely before the hearing concluded for votes.

Despite some tough questions, none of the committee members publicly expressed opposition to Huerta, and many complimented his FAA tenure. He has been acting administrator of the agency since Dec. 5, 2011 after former FAA chief Randy Babbitt resigned. Prior to leading the FAA, Huerta served as deputy to Babbitt.

It is unknown when the committee will vote on Huerta’s nomination. While there is currently no public opposition to Huerta, Republicans in the Senate may be reluctant to allow his confirmation prior to the November election. The position is a five-year term and GOP senators would prefer to wait for the outcome of the presidential election before confirming an FAA chief that would be able to serve through the first four years of a possible Romney administration.

One factor that may work in Huerta’s favor is his familiarity with the Republican presidential candidate. Huerta served as managing director of transportation communications for the 2002 Olympic Winter Organizing Committee, which Romney chaired.

~~~ posted 6/27/12 ~~~



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