In a rare unanimous vote, the U.S. Senate has confirmed Charlotte, N.C., Mayor Anthony Foxx to become the next U.S. transportation secretary.
Senators yesterday voted 100-0 to confirm President Barack Obama’s nominee to head the Cabinet department that oversees the, the Maritime Administration and numerous other related federal agencies.
The confirmation had been expected after Foxx sailed through Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee vetting. On the Senate floor ahead of the vote, committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) called Foxx a “superb and qualified person who’s very much needed to overlook our enormous transportation system, which is in trouble.”
Foxx’s confirmation was applauded by industry. The Aerospace Industries Association said Foxx’s confirmation to succeed Secretary Ray LaHood brings continued, strong leadership for the department.
Foxx’s “experience overseeing the Charlotte-Douglas International Airport will provide invaluable insights into the importance of our aviation system and the complexities of providing nationwide air traffic control services every day of the year, rain or shine,” the association said.
Airlines for America President and CEO Nicholas Calio, meanwhile, said, “As an elected leader of a hub market, Mayor Foxx understands how critical air travel is to connecting communities and business globally, and we look forward to working with him to ensure the U.S. airline industry can compete globally and be a growing driver of the economy and jobs.
“We congratulate Mayor Foxx on his confirmation, and share his commitment to building on the safety and efficiency of the National Airspace System—including the implementation of NextGen-related policies and procedures that leverage the significant investments carriers have already made to benefit their customers now.”
While not controversial himself, Foxx’s tenure—which still awaits formal presidential appointment as secretary—likely will be marred by budget fights with lawmakers as the entire federal government struggles with the full effects of the 2011 Budget Control Act, including past and still potential sequestration cuts.
This week appropriations panels in both the House and Senate have been marking up their versions of annual transportation spending for the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1, but different chambers of the politically divided Congress are far apart.
Moreover, any final bill remains hostage to another round of sequestration under the budget act unless Congress agrees to a new law averting it.
So far, at least a continuing resolution of 2013 appropriations is expected to lead the government into fiscal 2014, and sequestration cuts could come before the end of the calendar year.