Elaine Chao, President-elect Donald Trump's selection to be the next U.S. Transportation Secretary, seems poised for swift confirmation after answering questions on a wide array of topics at her confirmation hearing today.
At the end of the hearing, Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.) said that the goal is to have Chao confirmed by Inauguration Day on January 20. Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) predicted that Chao will be confirmed "with a nice bipartisan vote." Chao received a warm welcome from Republican and Democratic senators alike and has ties to a number of male senators' wives. Chao is married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who introduced her at the hearing.
Both Chairman Thune and Ranking Member Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) said in their opening statements that the FAA reauthorization bill due this year offers a chance to continue the recent focus on aviation and airport security. Sen. Nelson said that despite security improvements made in the 2016 FAA extension, the recent Fort Lauderdale shooting shows that airport security is "a constant challenge."