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Senate confirms Buttigieg as Transportation secretary

The Senate on Tuesday confirmed Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegBiden looks to bolster long-term research and development White House says gas tax won't be part of infrastructure bill The Hill's 12:30 Report: Biden meets with bipartisan lawmakers for infrastructure negotiations MORE to lead the Transportation Department.

The Senate voted 86-13 to approve Buttigieg’s nomination. He is the 19th Transportation secretary and the fifth member of President Biden's Cabinet to be confirmed by the Senate. He is also the first openly gay Senate-confirmed Cabinet member in U.S. history.    

He is the former mayor of South Bend, Ind., and a Navy veteran. He ran against Biden in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary before dropping out of the race and throwing his support to the now-president.

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Senators who voted against Buttigieg’s nomination were Republicans Tom CottonTom Bryant CottonThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - All US adults now eligible for COVID vaccines Parade of 2024 GOP hopefuls court House conservatives Hillicon Valley: Biden administration sanctions Russia for SolarWinds hack, election interference MORE (Ark.), Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward Cruz15 Senate Republicans pledge to oppose lifting earmark ban 'Real Housewives of the GOP' — Wannabe reality show narcissists commandeer the party Is the antidote to bad speech more speech or more regulation? MORE (Texas), Bill CassidyBill CassidyBottom line Calls grow for national paid family leave amid pandemic Senators urge Energy chief to prioritize cybersecurity amid growing threats MORE (La.), Roger MarshallRoger W. MarshallCruz no longer wearing mask in Capitol The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Tax March - CDC in limbo on J&J vax verdict; Rep. Brady retiring Anti-Asian hate crimes bill overcomes first Senate hurdle MORE (Kan.), Rick Scott (Fla.), Tommy Tuberville (Ala.), Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - All US adults can get vaccine; decision Friday on J&J vax Senate GOP to face off over earmarks next week Senate GOP opens door to earmarks MORE (Ala.), Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleyHillicon Valley: Apple approves Parler's return to App Store | White House scales back response to SolarWinds, Microsoft incidents | Pressure mounts on DHS over relationship with Clearview AI 15 Senate Republicans pledge to oppose lifting earmark ban Is the antidote to bad speech more speech or more regulation? MORE (Mo.), Marsha BlackburnMarsha Blackburn2024 GOP White House hopefuls lead opposition to Biden Cabinet Blackburn introduces bill to require migrant DNA testing at border Bottom line MORE (Tenn.), Marco RubioMarco Antonio Rubio15 Senate Republicans pledge to oppose lifting earmark ban Parade of 2024 GOP hopefuls court House conservatives Hillicon Valley: Biden administration sanctions Russia for SolarWinds hack, election interference MORE (Fla.), Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottBass 'hopeful' on passing police reform: 'Republicans that I am working with are operating in good faith' The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Tax March - CDC in limbo on J&J vax verdict; Rep. Brady retiring Tim Scott to participate in GOP event in Iowa MORE (S.C.), Bill Hagerty (Tenn.), and James LankfordJames Paul LankfordRubio and bipartisan group of senators push to make daylight saving time permanent Senate inches toward COVID-19 vote after marathon session Ron Johnson grinds Senate to halt, irritating many MORE (Okla.).

The Senate already confirmed Director of National Intelligence Avril HainesAvril HainesSunday shows preview: Russia, US exchange sanctions; tensions over policing rise; vaccination campaign continues Hillicon Valley: Facebook Oversight board to rule on Trump ban in 'coming weeks' | Russia blocks Biden Cabinet officials in retaliation for sanctions Russia blocks key Biden Cabinet officials from entering in retaliation for sanctions MORE, Defense Secretary Lloyd AustinLloyd AustinFive questions about Biden withdrawal from Afghanistan Secret Facebook groups of special operations officers include racist comments, QAnon posts: report New US sanctions further chill Biden-Putin relations MORE, Treasury Secretary Janet YellenJanet Louise YellenOn The Money: Treasury creates hub to fight climate change | Manchin throws support behind union-backed PRO Act | Consumer bureau rolls out rule to bolster CDC eviction ban Overnight Energy: Treasury creates hub to fight climate change through finance | Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez introduce 'Green New Deal for Public Housing' | Treasury creates hub to fight climate change through finance MORE and Secretary of State Antony BlinkenAntony BlinkenOvernight Energy: Treasury creates hub to fight climate change through finance | Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez introduce 'Green New Deal for Public Housing' | Blinken says US falling behind China as global leader on climate change White House defends 'aspirational' goal of 62,500 refugees MORE.

The Senate Commerce Committee advanced Buttigieg’s nomination last week through a broad bipartisan vote, with only three Republican senators voting against it.

He is set to take over an agency overseeing an industry devastated by the coronavirus pandemic. Biden has also emphasized the need for a bold infrastructure package, which Buttigieg has highlighted.

The former mayor defended Biden’s executive order to revoke a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline when questioned earlier this month. He also walked back comments that left the door open to raising the gas tax to fund the Highway Trust Fund; a spokesperson said after the hearing that increasing the gas tax is not an option.

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Transportation industry trade groups like the Airport Council and the Air Line Pilots Association applauded his confirmation on Tuesday and unions, including the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA and AFSCME, also welcomed him into his new role.

Buttigieg has quipped that he would be the second-biggest Amtrak enthusiast in the administration. Biden is an outspoken advocate for Amtrak and would regularly commute between Delaware on Washington, D.C., by train when he was a senator. 

When Biden formally introduced Buttigieg as his nominee for Transportation secretary in December, he called him “one of the smartest people you will ever meet.” 

Buttigieg is set to be the only millennial to serve in Biden's Cabinet.

The Human Rights Campaign applauded Buttigieg’s historic nomination as the first openly LGBTQ Senate-confirmed Cabinet secretary.

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“Let this important moment for our movement serve as a reminder to every LGBTQ young person: you too can serve your country in any capacity you earn the qualifications to hold,” President Alphonso David said in a statement.

The LGBTQ Victory Institute also noted in a statement that Buttigieg shattered a political barrier on Tuesday.

“Pete shattered a centuries-old political barrier with overwhelming bipartisan support and that paves the way for more LGBTQ Americans to pursue high-profile appointments,” said CEO Annise Parker.

“Pete testifying at his confirmation hearing, with his husband looking on, will be among the powerful images that define this unprecedented political moment and will be remembered as a milestone in America’s move toward social justice,” she said.

Buttigieg spoke in December about the history-making move as the first openly gay Senate-confirmed Cabinet member. Rick Grenell, who served as the acting director of national intelligence from February to May under President TrumpDonald TrumpHouse votes to condemn Chinese government over Hong Kong Former Vice President Walter Mondale dies at age 93 White House readies for Chauvin verdict MORE, was the first openly LGBTQ Cabinet secretary but was not confirmed by the Senate. 

Buttigieg recalled watching the confirmation hearing of James Hormel, the first openly gay man to represent the U.S. as an ambassador, under President Clinton. Senate Republicans at the time worked to block Hormel’s nomination, but he was appointed to be U.S. ambassador to Luxembourg through a recess appointment.

Updated at 1:32 p.m.