The Senate confirmed Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Administrator David Pekoske to a second term on Thursday.
In a 77-18 vote, the upper chamber confirmed Pekoske to a second five-year term after previously confirming him to the post in August 2017 by unanimous consent.
“It is a privilege to continue serving the American people alongside an incredible workforce of dedicated and highly skilled professionals,” he said in a TSA statement. “I will continue to work tirelessly to ensure our nation’s transportation system remains secure and facilitates the movement of people and cargo.”
President Biden in May renominated Pekoske, who was nominated for his first term by former President Trump. Pekoske also served a brief stint as the Department of Homeland Security’s acting secretary when Biden took office.
Pekoske leads a workforce of roughly 60,000 employees at nearly 430 airports nationwide, and the agency is also responsible for security of pipelines, rail and mass transit systems.
TSA’s statement also outlined Pekoske’s priorities for his second term, which include implementing more equitable compensation, investing in technology and strengthening partnerships with transportation stakeholders and international governments.
“TSA’s mission lies in the commitment of professionals and highly skilled individuals, and Admiral Pekoske’s confirmation and continued leadership of this team will enable the TSA to further its ongoing and important mission,” Commerce Committee Chairwoman Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) said on the Senate floor prior to the vote.
The agency during Pekoske’s first term grappled with a large number of unruly passengers amid the coronavirus pandemic, with thousands of reported mask-related incidents.
Prior to joining the TSA, Pekoske was a vice commandant in the U.S. Coast Guard, where he was second-in-command and chief operating officer. He also served as commander of Coast Guard Pacific Area and Coast Guard Defense Forces West.
TSA now faces passenger levels not seen since before the pandemic, with the agency regularly screening more than 2 million passengers per day.
The airline industry has seen a chaotic summer travel season with many flight cancellations and delays, but TSA has continually touted low wait times during peak travel days.
Earlier this month, Labor Day marked the first holiday weekend to surpass pre-pandemic air travel levels. TSA said over the course of the weekend, 94.9 percent of PreCheck passengers waited less than five minutes, and about 91.6 percent of standard-screening passengers waited less than 15 minutes.
“TSA’s highly trained and dedicated workforce facilitated secure travel for millions of passengers during the busy summer travel season with very little disruptions at the checkpoint,” Pekoske said at the time.