Buttigieg Confirmation Vote Pushed to Next Week as Trump Impeachment Trial Looms
Washington D.C. – The United States Senate will vote next week on President Joe Biden’s pick to lead the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) amid the ongoing rancor over the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump.
A full Senate vote on the nomination of Pete Buttigieg to head the USDOT was expected this week but is now set for Tuesday, February 2.
The announcement comes one day after the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation advanced his nomination by a 21-3 vote.
On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said he expected Buttigieg’s nomination to come to the Senate floor this week.
However, other nominations including those of Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Secretary of Treasury Janet Yellen, and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin were prioritized by the Biden Administration.
The Senate has also been grappling with the second impeachment trial of Donald Trump.
Managers from the U.S. House of Representatives delivered the single article of impeachment to the Senate this week and Senators were sworn in.
Republicans have blasted the impeachment arguing it is both unconstitutional and a waste of time for the Senate, especially given the need to address COVID-relief legislation and more.
A point of order motion offered by Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) arguing the trial would be unconstitutional was defeated this week in a 45-55 vote.
However, it was a clear signal Mr. Trump will likely not be convicted since a two-thirds majority is required to do so.
Senators Susan Collins (R-MA) and Tim Kaine (D-VA) are working together to build support for a resolution to censure the former president, instead of tying up the Senate for a trial that could last weeks, and even months, if witnesses are ultimately called.
Sen. Kaine is also reportedly planning to introduce a resolution to bar Mr. Trump from ever again holding public office in lieu of a trial.
Leader Schumer though remains adamant that the Senate will move forward with a trial.
“Make no mistake: there will be a full and fair trial on convicting Donald Trump for high crimes and misdemeanors,” Schumer said on Thursday. “He is charged with inciting an insurrection. The evidence against him will be presented in living color for the nation and every one of us to see.”
As for Buttigieg, a growing number of trucking associations including: the American Trucking Associations, Truckload Carriers Association, Owner Operator Independent Driver’s Association, and National Association of Truckstop Operators have endorsed his nomination.
During his nomination acceptance speech last December, Buttigieg put forward his vision of what the USDOT is all about.
“At its best, transportation makes the American Dream possible, getting people and goods where it needs to be directly and indirectly creating good paying jobs,” he said. “At its worst, misguided policies and missed opportunities can reinforce racial, economic, and environmental injustice, dividing or isolating neighborhoods, undermining governments basic role to empower everyone to thrive.”
Further, the 39-year-old former mayor of South Bend, IN intends to use USDOT authority to enact President Biden’s aggressive environmentalist agenda.
“The President has made it very clear he expects all of us to deliver on a new climate vision,” Mr. Buttigieg declared in his confirmation hearing before the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee. “Ultimately, we cannot afford not to act on climate.”
As part of this new focus on climate policy, Buttigieg has stated the USDOT will work to incentivize consumer adoption of electric vehicles (EV), build 500,000 EV charging stations, and “modernize” vehicle fuel efficiency standards.
Moreover, Buttigieg indicated he is also eyeing new regulations to crackdown on carbon emissions producers noting, “The transportation sector is now the biggest contributor of greenhouse gases.”
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