Time Running Out for Trump Nominees

December 14, 2018

With less than three weeks left until the end of the 115th Congress, twelve of President Trump’s transportation-related nominees are still pending on the Senate’s Executive Calendar, and five more are pending in committee.

Any nominees not confirmed by the Senate by 11:59 a.m. on January 3 (when the Congress ends) will automatically be returned to the President, and he would have to formally re-nominate them, starting the process over once again.

A list of all pending transportation-related nominees is at the end of this article, and we update this version of the list online whenever there is a status change (so bookmark it).

It is Senate tradition to move a large package (dozens of nominees) in one fell swoop at the very end of a session of Congress, but we’re still not sure when that end will be. There is a growing likelihood that the Senate will have to continue session the week between Christmas and New Years. A large package of nominees may be moved by Friday December 21 if the post-Christmas voting is still hypothetical.

But one thing is for certain – it is already too late for any of these nominees to be confirmed by anything other than the unanimous consent of all 100 Senators (whether confirmed by unanimous consent itself or whether by unanimous consent to move them to the front of the line and get a voice vote).

Nominees to regulatory boards usually move on a bipartisan package basis, with at least one member of the party that is not the President’s moving with one or two members of the President’s part. It is hopeful that the three Surface Transportation Board members could move this way, as well as the two Federal Maritime Commission members. Also, all three nominees for the Railroad Retirement Board have now been made. (The Senate committees might choose to dispense with the formal hearing and vote process for the FMC and RRB nominees.)

But the three Amtrak Board of Directors nominees are all Republicans, and the FTA and NHTSA nominees have drawn fire in the past because of the Trump Administration’s proposed transit cuts and the Takata airbag recall administration, respectively.


Department of Transportation Joel Szabat Assistant Secretary for Aviation and Int’l Affairs Nomination reported 9/6/18 (Cal. #1079)
Department of Transportation Diana Furchtgott-Roth Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology Nomination reported 1/18/18 (Cal. #613)
DOT – Federal Transit Administration Thelma Drake Administrator Nomination reported 5/15/18 (Cal. #846)
DOT – National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Heidi King Administrator Nomination reported 6/27/18 (Cal. #937)
Amtrak Board of Directors Lynn Westmoreland Member for a term of five years Nomination reported 1/18/18 (Cal. #615)
Amtrak Board of Directors Joseph Gruters Member for the remainder of a term expiring 10/4/22 Nomination reported 5/22/18 (Cal. #857)
Amtrak Board of Directors Rick Dearborn Member for a term of five years Nomination reported 9/6/18 (Cal. #1076)
Metropolitan Wash. Airport Authority Board Alan Cobb Member for the remainder of a term expiring 11/11/23 Nomination reported 4/25/18 (Cal. #822)
Metropolitan Wash. Airport Authority Board William S. McDermott Member for the remainder of a term expiring 5/30/24 Nomination transmitted 9/6/18
Surface Transportation Board Patrick Fuchs Member for a five-year term Nomination reported 4/25/18 (Cal. #823)
Surface Transportation Board Michelle Schultz Member for a five-year term Nomination reported 4/25/18 (Cal. #824)
Surface Transportation Board Martin Oberman Member for a five-year term Nomination reported 8/1/18 (Cal. #1043-44)
Federal Maritime Commission Dan Maffei Member for the remainder of a five-year term expiring 6/30/22 Nomination transmitted 11/15/18
Federal Maritime Commission L.E. Sola Member the remainder of a five-year term expiring 6/30/23 Nomination transmitted 11/15/18
Railroad Retirement Board Erhard Chorlé Member for a term expiring 8/28/22 Nomination reported 11/29/18 (Cal. #1192)
Railroad Retirement Board Thomas Jayne Member for a term expiring 8/28/23 Nomination transmitted 12/13/18
Railroad Retirement Board Jonathan Bragg Member for a portion of a term expiring 8/28/19 and a term expiring 8/28/24 Nomination transmitted 12/13/18

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