Transportation Secy. nominee Buttigieg frustrates Senate

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Transportation Secretary nominee Pete Buttigieg removed his face mask to speak during a Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill, Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021, in Washington. (Ken Cedeno/Pool via AP)

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UPDATED 1:20 PM PT – Friday, January 22, 2021

In an ever-increasingly divisive political landscape where Republicans and Democrats agree on nearly nothing, bettering America’s infrastructure is something that typically brings even the furthest extremes together.

However, at Thursday’s hearing for the new Transportation Secretary, former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-Ind.) turned a position typically regarded as nearly non-partisan into another example of political theater.

Quick to call out the former Democrat presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) brought up that the Department of Transportation is not a shining example of political impartiality.

“I will say it was disconcerning to see yesterday, the first day of the Biden administration, straight out of the gate President Biden announced that he was cancelling the Keystone pipeline,” Cruz stated. “That is a major infrastructure project.”

Cruz went on to outline exactly how major the pipeline was, bringing in 11 thousand jobs, eight thousand of which are union jobs, and bringing in $1.6 billion in contracts.

Instead of addressing the concerns of immediate job creation, Buttigieg appeared to cite an elusive vision of a future to come at a time where a pandemic has brought economies across the globe to a screeching halt.

“I think the most important thing is to make sure that we make good on the promise of the president’s climate vision of being one that creates far more jobs,” Buttigeg said. “Millions, we hope.”

With the termination of the project, Cruz argued those thousands of Americans would be out of work today and unable to worry about a dream 50 years from now.

The evasion was noticed and mirrored Buttigieg’s rhetoric style from back during the presidential campaign. When confronted by Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) about the number of billionaire donors who contributed to his campaign, Buttigieg dodged that question and instead tried to highlight any other source of campaign revenue.

Buttigieg is not the only nomination that is failing to impress, allegations of career corruption have resurfaced for three other nominees. Back in 2019 while serving as Rhode Island governor, Biden’s Commerce Department pick, Gina Raimondo, granted a $1 billion contract to gaming firm IGT without competition.

For his part, when he was serving as Citizenship and Immigration chief under Barack Obama, Biden’s DHS nominee Alejandro Mayorkas reportedly handed out investor visas in violation of protocol. Meanwhile, Labor Department pick Marty Walsh funneled $1 million in campaign funds to his girlfriend while he was serving as Boston mayor.

Despite the Democrats controlling the White House and both chambers of Congress, without a trustworthy cabinet, it’s unclear how Biden plans to execute any of the policies he’s been promising for nearly half a century.

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