It looks like politics will get in the way of the confirmation of Acting FAA Administrator Michael Huerta to the five-year appointment in the top job. Despite the unanimous endorsement of the Senate's commerce committee earlier in the day, Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., has announced he'll oppose the confirmation so the full Senate can more thoroughly explore Huerta's views on labor relations. "Senator DeMint would want to have a full debate and vote on this nominee as he has strong concerns about the FAA's labor policies," said DeMint spokesman Wesley Denton.
Huerta has had a comparatively easy confirmation process and appeared to be on track to take over the job this week. DeMint's action could delay the confirmation, assuming it eventually occurs, by weeks. In a an interview with AVweb at AirVenture last week Huerta said he hoped the confirmation would pass the Senate and that he'd be able to settle in to tackle things like NextGen. And just to add further political intrigue to the issue, it should be noted that Huerta, although he was nominated by President Obama, worked for Obama's presumed rival Mitt Romney as managing director of the 2000 Salt Lake City Olympics.