Senate Confirms Petsonk Nomination

Senate Confirms Petsonk Nomination

May 19, 2022  | Jeff Davis

The U.S. Senate on May 18 confirmed Annie Petsonk to be Assistant Secretary of Transportation for Aviation and International Affairs. The nomination was confirmed by unanimous consent.

(For those curious about how the DOT Assistant Secretary jobs were created and evolved over the years, see this article starting about one-third of the way down, “How the Duties of the Assistant Secretaries of Transportation Evolved Over the Years.”

Of the ten positions in the Office of the Secretary of Transportation that are graded “PAS” (Presidential Appointment, with Senate consent), seven now have Senate-confirmed occupants. The following table shows the ten posts and the timeframe from the President sending a formal nomination form to the Senate to the day the Senate voted to confirm the nominee:

USDOT Position Nominee Nominated Confirmed Days
Secretary Pete Buttigieg January 20, 2021 February 2, 2021 13
Deputy Secretary Polly Trottenberg February 13, 2021 April 13, 2021 59
Under Secretary for Policy Carlos Monje April 27, 2021 June 24, 2021 58
General Counsel John Putnam October 19, 2021 May 12, 2022 205
Chief Financial Officer Victoria Wassmer April 12, 2021 May 12, 2022 395
Assistant Secretary For:
Aviation/International Annie Petsonk April 27, 2021 May 18, 2022 386
Government Affairs Mohsin Syed April 12, 2021 April 7, 2022 360
Multimodal Freight [no nominee yet]
Research and Technology Robert Hampshire April 27, 2021 in committee 387+
Transportation Policy Christoper Coes April 22, 2021 on  Calendar 392+

Even though we have seen four of the pending OST nominations (and two modal administrators) confirmed in the last two months, the nomination of Chris Coes to be Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy is still obviously attracting a “hold” from somewhere which has not yet shaken loose.

Meanwhile, the nomination of Robert Hampshire to be Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology appears to lack the votes to move forward in the Commerce Committee, meaning that at least one Democrat is not supportive of the nomination. (This is, we hear, not a policy issue but has to do with the nominee’s income tax paperwork in years past.)

And we are approaching the time to start holding the White House’s feet to the fire on naming someone to the vacancy for Assistant Secretary for Multimodal Freight, since this position did not exist until created by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act in November 2021. That enactment was seven months ago.

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