NJ Senators Block Sturgell Nomination

 - February 12, 2008, 10:33 AM

Shortly after a Senate confirmation hearing last week for Robert Sturgell to become the next FAA Administrator, New Jersey’s two Democratic senators announced they were putting a “hold” on the Bush nomination. A hold is an informal practice by which a senator informs the floor leader that he or she does not want a particular bill or other measure to reach the floor for consideration. Sens. Robert Menendez and Frank Lautenberg placed the hold because of their dispute with the FAA over redesign of the Northeast airspace and concerns about recent near-collisions and runway incursions, as well as the exodus of experienced air traffic controllers. President Bush nominated Sturgell shortly after previous FAA Administrator Marion Blakey completed her five-year term at the agency helm in September. A former airline pilot, NTSB official and Top Gun instructor, Sturgell has been endorsed by most of the aviation community. He likely will continue to serve as acting administrator for the next year.