Biden Re-Nominates FAA, Amtrak, FMC Nominees
When the Senate adjourned sine die at the end of the 117th Congress, at 11:30 a.m. on January 3, all pending legislation died, and all pending nominations were returned to the White House. Later that afternoon, at the start of the 118th Congress, President Biden re-nominated some (but not all) of the nominees whose names had been sent back.
A separate statement from the White House on January 3 said “The White House will continue transmitting renominations to the Senate in the coming weeks and hopes the Senate will take action expeditiously.”
- The President re-nominated Phil Washington to be Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration. Washington was first nominated in July 2022 but did not get a hearing in the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee during the last Congress. Now that the White House has doubled down in support of his nomination, we will see when (and if) Chairman Maria Cantwell (D-WA) schedules his hearing. (The Senate won’t be back in session until January 23 at the earliest.)
- The President re-nominated the five Democratic nominees for the Amtrak Board of Directors who were approved by the Commerce Committee last year but never got a vote in the Senate. (They are current chairman Tony Coscia and prospective new members David Capozzi, Christopher Koos, Samuel Lathem, and Robin Weissmann.) Senate Republicans have placed “holds” on these nominees and are insisting that Biden also nominate some Republicans to the Board to go with them because, if the five pending nominees are confirmed, the Board will be stacked five to one in favor of Democrats (six to one if you count Secretary Buttigieg). The law provides for eight Senate-confirmed Board members (plus Buttigieg), of which “Not more than 5…may be members of the same political party.”
- The President re-nominated two members of the five-member Federal Maritime Commission: chairman (and Democrat) Dan Maffei to a second full five-year term, and Republican Rebecca Dye for a fourth full five-year term (plus a partial term from November 2002 to June 2005). (Yes, you might be saying, but what about section 46101(b) of title 46 U.S.C., which limits FMC members to no more than two full terms? Well, that limit is overridden by section 403(b) of Public Law 113-281, which allows Dye to serve for life.)
Reminder: Almost two full years into his Presidency, Joe Biden has yet to nominate a head for the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration.