Senate to Quickly Confirm Biden’s Pick to Head USDOT Despite These Serious Concerns
Washington D.C. – The United States Senate will take up President-Elect Joe Biden’s nominee to head the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) fewer than 24 hours after he is sworn in.
Joe Biden will officially take the presidential oath of office on Wednesday, January 20 at 12 p.m..
The Senate is moving quickly to confirm Mr. Biden’s nominee to lead the USDOT, 38-year-old former mayor of South Bend, IN, Pete Buttigieg.
The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, will convene a nomination hearing on Thursday, January 21, at 10 a.m..
Mr. Buttigieg, who describes himself as a “train enthusiast,” is expected to easily sail through the confirmation process despite serious concerns among many truckers and trucking stakeholders.
“HE HAS NO BUSINESS BEING THE SECRETARY OF THE D.O.T.”
Topping the list of concerns is Buttigieg’s inexperience in managing such a massive bureaucracy.
The DOT consists of more than 55,000 employees which is roughly half the entire population of South Bend.
Such a learning curve could prove costly especially at a time of pandemic as the trucking industry is tasked with delivering millions of doses of COVID-19 vaccines across the nation.
Mayor Pete, as he is known, has also been criticized by residents and local media in South Bend for his inability to patch potholes in a timely fashion.
In a report in March of 2018, the South Bend Tribune described the problem as the “worst in recent memory.”
It became so bad in fact that it earned Mayor Pete the nickname “Pothole Pete.”
“I faced a constant battle with that natural enemy of all mayors… the pothole,” Buttigieg acknowledged in his nomination acceptance speech last month.
“He has no business being the Secretary of the D.O.T.,” a past chairman of a major trucking association recently told Transportation Nation Network (TNN). “Just look at his record in South Bend. He couldn’t even keep the streets fixed.”
Buttigieg’s history of left-wing political activism and rigid partisanship are also raising concerns that he will shape policy to satisfy those in the far left of the Democratic party.
FINDING COMMON GROUND ON INFRASTRUCTURE
Despite all of this, trucking leaders are publicly hoping to find common ground with Buttigieg and the Biden Administration on increasing infrastructure funding.
“Having served as a mayor, Pete Buttigieg has had an up close and personal look at how our infrastructure problems are impacting Americans, and how important it is to solve them,” American Trucking Associations (ATA) President and CEO Chris Spear recently stated. “We look forward to rolling up our sleeves and working with him to begin the important work of rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure.”
The Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) also expressed optimism in a recent statement.
“Mr. Buttigieg will bring a unique perspective and ambitious ideas into this role, and we look forward to working with him,” the TCA said.
In a tweet this week, Mayor Pete vowed the Biden Administration will make infrastructure investment a priority.
As @PresElectBiden has said, it’s time to stop just talking about infrastructure and to actually start building an infrastructure.
— Pete Buttigieg (@PeteButtigieg) January 16, 2021
Still, privately some stakeholders acknowledge Buttigieg will have an uphill battle to win the confidence of many people in the industry.
He likely didn’t help himself much this week when he took a nakedly partisan veiled swipe at President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, who each continue to enjoy strong support among rank-and-file in the trucking industry.
In one week we will have a president and vice president with integrity and decency, qualities we need more than ever.
— Pete Buttigieg (@PeteButtigieg) January 13, 2021
Buttigieg’s first Senate confirmation hearing will be streamed live.
Click HERE to watch.
Stay with TNN for the latest developments on Buttigieg’s nomination.