Daily US Times: On Tuesday, Pete Buttigieg won Senate approval as transportation secretary, the first gay person to be confirmed to a cabinet post. He will be tasked with advancing President Joe Biden’s ambitious agenda of rebuilding the country’s infrastructure and fighting climate change.
Buttigieg was approved on an 86-13 vote.
“I’m honored and humbled by today’s vote in the Senate and ready to get to work,” Buttigieg, a 39-year-old former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, tweeted shortly after he was confirmed.
Praised by Biden for bringing a “new voice” to the administration, Buttigieg, Biden’s one-time rival during the Democratic presidential primaries, takes over a transportation department with 55,000 employees and a budget of tens of billions of dollars.
He has pledged to quickly get to work promoting safety and restoring consumer trust in America’s transportation networks as airlines, buses, city subway systems and Amtrak reel from plummeting ridership in the coronavirus pandemic.
Pete Buttigieg brings diversity to the cabinet. Under former president Donald Trump, Richard Grenell served as acting director of national intelligence and is gay, but he didn’t have to face Senate confirmation as an acting director.
Buttigieg is expected to play an important role in promoting Biden administration’s sweeping green initiatives, helping to oversee stronger automotive fuel economy standards to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and support the president’s push later this year for a $2tn climate and infrastructure plan. That plan will be focused on rebuilding bridges and roads and expanding zero-emission mass transit while boosting electric vehicle infrastructure, including building 500,000 charging stations over the next decade.