Monje Confirmed at USDOT; White House Makes FMC Nomination

Yesterday afternoon, the U.S. Senate confirmed the nomination of Carlos Monje, Jr. to be the number 3 official at the U.S. Department of Transportation (Under Secretary of Transportation for Policy).

The confirmation, which occurred by unanimous consent during the late-afternoon daily wrap-up, happened just eight days after Monje’s nomination had been reported from committee and placed on the Executive Calendar, which (by modern standards) was pretty quick.

Monje is the fourth Biden Administration transportation nominee to be confirmed by the Senate, with the others being Secretary Pete Buttigieg (February 2), Deputy Secretary Polly Trottenberg (April 13), and Federal Transit Administrator Nuria Fernandez (June 11).

Meanwhile, on June 23, the White House announced that President Biden would nominate Max Vekich to be a member of the Federal Maritime Commission.

Vekich (whose nomination was officially transmitted to the Senate the following day) hails from Seattle. He is a third-generation longshoreman – his father and namesake was the longtime head of the Aberdeen, Washington local of the longshoreman’s union (ILWU). The younger Vekich has served on the ILWU board and also worked supervising cargo loading and unloading in Washington State for the Pacific Maritime Association.

Politically, Vekich served in the Washington State House of Representatives from 1983-1991 and ran unsuccessfully for Seattle Port Commissioner in 2009.

(Ed. Note: There was some sloppy cut-and-pasting work by the White House press shop going on here – Vekich obviously wrote his own bio, using the first person “I” several times, which made it into the official White House announcement, making it sound like the White House itself “was the youngest Democrat in the state House.”)

Vekich has been nominated to serve a full five-year term, replacing Michael Khouri, whose term expires next week on June 30. Khouri was a Republican appointee, so with Vekich’s confirmation, the FMC balance will shift from 3 GOP appointees (Rebecca Dye, Louis Sola, and Khouri) and 2 Democratic appointees (chairman Dan Maffei and Carl Bentzel) to a 3 to 2 Democratic majority.

Reminder: Eno keeps a status list of all Biden Administration transportation nominees, updated several times a week, which you can bookmark here.

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