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Senate Set to Affirm Buttigieg for Transportation Secretary | Enterprise Information

By HOPE YEN, Related Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate is poised to approve Pete Buttigieg to be transportation secretary, the primary brazenly homosexual particular person ever confirmed to a Cupboard submit, tasked with advancing President Joe Biden’s wide-ranging agenda of rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure and combating local weather change.

Buttigieg’s nomination was set for a remaining vote Tuesday within the full Senate, after the 39-year-old former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and Biden’s one-time rival within the Democratic presidential primaries acquired bipartisan reward at his affirmation listening to final week.

“Mr. Buttigieg is a formidable public servant who has already earned the respect and confidence of each side,” mentioned Senate Majority Chief Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., in ground remarks on Monday. “I look ahead to confirming his nomination.”

Praised by Biden as bringing a “new voice” to the administration, Buttigieg would take over a Transportation Division with 55,000 workers and a price range of tens of billions of {dollars}. He has pledged to shortly get to work selling security and restoring shopper belief in America’s transportation networks as airways, buses, metropolis subway techniques and Amtrak reel from plummeting ridership within the coronavirus pandemic.

He’s additionally anticipated to play an essential position in selling Biden’s local weather initiatives, serving to to supervise stronger automotive gasoline financial system requirements to cut back greenhouse fuel emissions and assist the president’s push later this 12 months on a sweeping $2 trillion local weather and infrastructure plan. That plan will focus partly on rebuilding roads and bridges and increasing zero-emission mass transit whereas boosting electrical automobile infrastructure, together with constructing 500,000 charging stations over the subsequent decade.

Throughout his listening to, some Republican senators signaled fights forward over the price and scope of updating the nation’s roads and bridges, rails and airports, a purpose lengthy promised by Donald Trump however by no means fulfilled in his 4 years as president. The senators questioned specifically the Biden administration’s effort to redirect cash for inexperienced initiatives, however mentioned they seemed ahead to additional discussions with Buttigieg. He simply cleared the Senate Commerce Committee on a 21-3 vote.

“I look ahead to seeing Pete Buttigieg confirmed by the complete Senate,” mentioned Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker, the highest Republican on the panel. “Transportation points traditionally have been addressed on a bipartisan foundation, and I count on to proceed that apply with Mr. Buttigieg.”

Biden hasn’t indicated how he intends to pay for a broad infrastructure plan, approaching high of a proposed $1.9 trillion virus aid plan that has met some headwinds in Congress. Buttigieg’s suggestion throughout his listening to {that a} fuel tax hike could be wanted was instantly walked again by his spokesman afterward.

“We have to construct our financial system again, higher than ever, and the Division of Transportation can play a central position on this,” Buttigieg mentioned. He famous that the transportation sector, significantly automotive emissions, is the one largest contributor within the U.S. to world warming.

The Afghanistan battle veteran burst onto the nationwide scene in 2019 after launching a longshot presidential bid, drawing preliminary skepticism on account of his youth and restricted authorities expertise. He outperformed expectations after zeroing in on a message of generational change, ending the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses in a digital tie with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. However Buttigieg struggled to attraction to Black voters and dropped out of the race after a crushing loss to Biden within the South Carolina main. Buttigieg selected to shortly endorse Biden, serving to him solidify centrist assist in opposition to Sanders’ robust liberal problem.

Buttigieg now factors to his expertise as a mayor and on the marketing campaign path as invaluable to his “backside up” method to bettering transportation. He described initiating a “good streets” program to make South Bend’s downtown extra pedestrian- and bicyclist-friendly whereas spurring lots of of tens of millions of {dollars} in financial funding.

He’ll additionally carry range to the Cupboard. There hasn’t been an brazenly homosexual Cupboard secretary earlier than. Beneath President Donald Trump, Richard Grenell served as performing director of nationwide intelligence and is brazenly homosexual, however didn’t need to face Senate affirmation as an performing director. Within the late Nineties, Senate Majority Chief Trent Lott blocked a vote on President Invoice Clinton’s decide for ambassador to Luxembourg, James Hormel, over his sexual orientation; Clinton in the end put in Hormel with a recess appointment.

Buttigieg says he recalled watching the remedy of Hormel’s nomination as a 17-year-old and seeing the boundaries. Buttigieg says it proved to be an essential crack within the glass ceiling for the LGBTQ group.

“As I used to be in that listening to taking these questions from senators, you can see my husband, Chasten, over my shoulder, and that’s one thing that has by no means occurred earlier than for a Cupboard nominee,” Buttigieg, reflecting on the second, informed ABC’s “The View.” “My hope is that, in flip, makes it simpler for the subsequent particular person to return alongside, in order that that is by no means even considered as a barrier by a future technology.”

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