Stephen Dickson, President Trump's controversial nominee to head the FAA, won the approval of the Senate commerce committee on Wednesday. 

The 14-12 vote was cast along party lines, with Democrats opposing the nomination amid allegations that Dickson played a role in retaliating against a Delta pilot who reported safety concerns to him while he was the carrier's senior vice president of flight operations. 

"The committee has spent the past two months reviewing any and all information regarding Stephen Dickson's nomination, and after concluding our due diligence, the committee has reported him favorably," chairman Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) said in a prepared remark. 

Dickson must still win confirmation from the full Senate. He would replace acting FAA administrator Dan Elwell, who has held that post since the five-year term of Michael Huerta ended in January 2018. 

The confirmation process is coinciding with a heightened period of scrutiny of the FAA following its certification of the flawed Boeing 737 Max aircraft.

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