The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee voted Wednesday to advance President Trump‘s nominee to lead the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), former Delta executive Stephen Dickson, to a vote before the full Senate.
The committee vote was 14-12 along party lines and came as Democrats raised concerns about Dickson.
Sen. Maria Cantwell (Wash.), the committee’s top Democrat, said that Dickson was involved in alleged retaliation against a Delta pilot who brought up safety concerns.
She said that the pilot was made to see a psychiatrist who declared her manic and removed her from flying after she allegedly told Delta about issues with automation and pilot training.
Cantwell said that a congressional investigation found that Dickson «did know, was involved with this pilot, did know what was happening, and failed to disclose it to this committee.”
Chairman Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), however, praised Dickson’s Air Force service and his experience at Delta.
“He will bring commitment, experience and expertise necessary to lead the FAA,” he said, adding that Dixon was never accused of retaliation during his tenure at Delta.
As of Wednesday afternoon, a vote to confirm Dickson by the full Senate had not been scheduled.
The FAA has faced increased scrutiny in recent weeks due to its past approval of Boeing 737 Max planes. In the last year, two such planes have crashed in other countries, resulting in 346 deaths.
The U.S. and other countries have grounded the planes.