Senator Hawley is delaying nominees supported by McConnell

The strained relationship between Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., continues to affect Senate approval of nominations.

Hawley late last month wrote to McConnell to say that more time is needed for “careful evaluation” of McConnell-backed nominees to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

Andrew Ferguson, McConnell’s former chief counsel, was nominated to serve on the FTC. Todd Inman, a former McConnell campaign aide, was nominated to the NTSB.

Inman also served as a chief of staff to then-Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, McConnell’s wife. 

“If Republicans are planning to install dozens of [President Joe] Biden nominees for positions across the federal government — without a vote — in exchange for just a handful of our own selections, I want to be sure that we get our nominees right,” Hawley wrote in a Dec. 20 letter to McConnell.

Now, Senate GOP colleagues are pressuring Hawley to relent from holding up the nominations.

The two vacancies on the five-member national transportation safety board and the lame-duck status of NTSB Trump-appointed board member Thomas Chapman are coming under increased scrutiny after a door plug blew off an Alaska Airlines flight at 16,000 feet this month, The Hill reported Tuesday. 

“I pay very close attention to the issue because aviation accidents in my state are way higher than in any other state for a whole host of reasons. So having the key safety team in for aviation is really important for Alaska,” said Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, a member of the Commerce Committee.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, ranking member on the Commerce Committee, is calling for Inman and Ferguson to be confirmed.

“I think it’s certainly important to fill the position. I think Mr. Inman is a good nominee. The Commerce Committee voted him out with strong bipartisan support, and so I hope the Senate moves swiftly to confirm him,” Cruz told The Hill.

Cruz added that the five-member FTC is down two commissioners, and Ferguson is needed to counterbalance Biden appointee Chair Lina Khan.  

“Sadly, under Joe Biden it [FTC] has become partisan, it has become radicalized. There are zero Republican commissioners and Lina Khan has abused her power, and one of the consequences is morale at the FTC has plummeted,” Cruz said, The Hill reported. 

The fight over the FTC and NTSB nominees is the latest example of the uneasy Hawley-McConnell relationship.

In September, Hawley called for McConnell to step down amid health concerns. Hawley joined a growing number of Republicans and the conservative publication National Review in calling for McConnell, 81, to retire. McConnell has served as GOP leader since 2007.

In December, McConnell maneuvered to strip a Hawley-sponsored amendment from the annual defense bill. Hawley’s provision would have compensated St. Louis-area residents who were exposed to radiation from nuclear waste from the Manhattan Project in the 1940s that had been improperly stored.

Charlie McCarthy |

Charlie McCarthy, a writer/editor at Newsmax, has nearly 40 years of experience covering news, sports, and politics.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

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