The Senate Commerce Committee advanced President Biden’s pick to lead the Transportation Department, Pete Buttigieg, with a broad bipartisan vote.
The committee voted 21-3 to advance Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Ind., who ran against Biden in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary. Buttigieg would make history as the first openly gay Cabinet member confirmed by the Senate if he wins approval.
Republican Sens. Ted Cruz (Texas), Marsha Blackburn (Tenn.), and Rick Scott (Fla.) were the three votes against advancing Buttigieg’s nomination. Buttigieg’s nomination now advances to a full Senate vote, which has not been scheduled yet.
Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) touted Buttigieg’s experience before the vote, pointing to what was discussed when the committee vetted the former mayor last week.
She said she will ask Buttigieg, once confirmed, about prioritizing getting the COVID-19 vaccine to transportation infrastructure workers.
Sen. Rodger Wicker (R-Tenn.) said before the vote that he expected support for Buttigieg to be bipartisan, noting the “generous endorsement” he received from GOP Sen. Todd Young, who represents his home state of Indiana.
The Senate has already confirmed four nominees to Biden’s Cabinet — Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken.