Senate Confirms Elaine Chao As Secretary of Transportation
On Tuesday, January 31, the full U.S. Senate confirmed President Donald Trump’s nominee for the U.S. Department of Transportation, Elaine Chao. Ms. Chao was formerly the Secretary of Labor under President George W. Bush.
Ms. Chao was overwhelmingly confirmed by a vote of 93-6.
“It would be hard to come up with a more qualified nominee than Secretary Chao for this important role,” Thune said. “Secretary Chao has repeatedly proven her willingness to roll up her sleeves to address the challenges facing our nation.”
The top Democrat on the panel, Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida, said he submitted questions late Sunday to Chao about the confusion at airports during the weekend dealing with President Trump’s executive order to temporarily suspend travel of citizens from seven countries, but that the transition team hadn’t passed them along.
Nelson said Chao told him when they talked Monday night that she hadn’t been consulted about the order beforehand or during the implementation. Nelson said the the former assistant secretary of transportation and labor secretary would provide needed government experience to the administration.
The Department of Transportation includes the Federal Aviation Administration and also oversees roads and railways throughout the nation. The mission of the department is, “Serve the United States by ensuring a fast, safe, efficient, accessible and convenient transportation system that meets our vital national interests and enhances the quality of life of the American people, today and into the future.”
Ms. Chao could have a say in matters that deeply impact travelers, including the decision where American Airlines and Qantas recently announced they would re-file for permission from the USDOT to be able to coordinate on price and scheduling of flights.