Cruz asks Senate to slow Biden FAA confirmation after new allegations

March 1, 2023

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) asked his Senate colleagues to delay the confirmation of Biden FAA nomination Phil Washington after new allegations surfaced about his time as CEO of Denver International Airport. 

“Mr. Washington’s hearing needs to be delayed until the committee has time to investigate new concerns about his nomination,” said Mr. Cruz, the top Republican on the Commerce Committee,told Fox News.

Washington was already facing corruption allegations from his time at Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority, having been named in a search warrant in September as part of a lawsuit that alleged favoritism in hiring and a pattern of discrimination and racist comments.

He denied all of the allegations, and Senate Democrats were willing to let the nomination process play out despite them, but now Washington is facing even more allegations in the form of a lawsuit by employees at the Denver Airport.

Failed to disclose information

“Last week, we discovered he failed to disclose to the committee that he’s been named in a new lawsuit alleging discriminatory and retaliatory practices at Denver’s airport,” Mr. Cruz said about Washington. “He also failed to provide to the Committee more than 18 hours of speeches and remarks as well as details concerning additional lawsuits involving him, all of which staff now must review.”

The failure to disclose pertinent information puts Washington's credibility in jeopardy and adds additional questions to his fitness for the nomination to the FAA.

His nomination was stalled in the 50-50 Senate last year, and was set to move forward until the new information surfaced.

Republicans have little real power to stop nominations now that the Senate is 51-49, but Pennsylvania's two Democrat senators have been absent due to health concerns, so the actual makeup of the senate right now is in question.

Embattled nominee

Washington's nomination was set to come before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee on March 1, so Cruz's delay attempt could actually help the nominee by waiting until the full Senate has returned in order to hold the vote.

Still, Washington remains embattled and seems far more damaged as a nominee than he first appeared.

Republicans have also argued since the time of his nomination in July 2022 that Washington did not have enough aviation experience to head the entire department.

"It’s bad enough that Mr. Washington has zero aviation safety experience and is entangled in an ongoing, unresolved criminal probe of public corruption at LA Metro," Cruz said.

As the top Republican on the Commerce Committee, his protests have more clout than others' might have, but he still can't singlehandedly block Washington's confirmation.

It remains to be seen whether Cruz will get his way or be ignored in order to give Biden what he still appears to want.

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