18:34 GMT03 March 2021
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    The Senate Commerce Committee previously voted 21-3 in favor of advancing the confirmation process of former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Biden's nominee for secretary of transportation.

    With a final vote of 86-13, the Senate on Tuesday confirmed Buttigieg to join US President Joe Biden's cabinet and head the US Department of Transporation. 

    Prior to the vote, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) took to the floor and spoke highly of the 39-year-old. 

    “Mr. Buttigieg is an impressive public servant who has already earned the respect and confidence of both sides,” remarked Schumer. “I look forward to confirming his nomination.”

    While Buttigieg has received bipartisan support during his confirmation process, some lawmakers - like Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) - have opposed his confirmation to the cabinet.

    The Texas lawmaker has particularly raised concerns about how the new US president's environmental push will impact American infrastructure, which Buttigieg will now oversee as transportation secretary. 

    “I will say it was disconcerting to see yesterday – the first day of the Biden administration – straight out of the gate, President Biden announced that he was canceling the Keystone Pipeline. That is a major infrastructure project," he said during Buttigieg's Senate Commerce Committee.

    "That is a project that right now today has 1,200 good paying union jobs. And in 2021, the Keystone Pipeline was scheduled to have more than 11,000 jobs, including 8,000 union jobs, for contracts worth $1.6 billion."

    Buttigieg's bipartisan confirmation will make Buttigieg the first open member of the LGBTQ+ community to lead a department and hold a cabinet position. 

    Buttigieg will assume his role following the Biden administration's recent COVID-19-related entry bans. The US government has also begun requiring all passengers to wear facemasks on airplanes, trains and other forms of mass transportation. 

    The former Indiana mayor has previously pointed out that he is the first millennial to receive a cabinet nomination and stressed that "future generations have a lot at stake in infrastructure policy that, by its nature, must contemplate both the immediate and the long term."


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