The Washington Post takes a look at the Biden admin Transportation Sec …
The Biden infrastructure Bill money will put the Transportation Sec in a pivotal place going forward in Congress and for the states….
Six months into his tenure as President Biden’s transportation secretary, Buttigieg has not only entered the arena, he is standing at center court and schmoozing with players on both teams. A former South Bend, Ind. mayor who embraced the outsider mantle as a candidate, Buttigieg has quickly morphed into a quintessential Washington insider. He has used his position at the center of the high-stakes infrastructure talks to mend old rifts, strengthen existing friendships and build new alliances.
His smooth debut has taken on greater significance as Democrats confront tough questions about the future of the party leadership. Biden says he intends to run for reelection, but as he nears his 79th birthday, that is no sure bet for many Democrats. Vice President Harris, Biden’s heir apparent, has had a rocky first few months on the job, prompting some Democrats to question her ability to pick up the baton.
Buttigieg’s networking is unfolding against that backdrop. He has struck a bond with the famously irascible Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) and joined Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) on a bike ride. He visited House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter A. DeFazio (D-Ore.) on his houseboat, bringing a bottle of liqueur for his host. He was spotted grabbing tacos with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.).
As the infrastructure talks heated up, he asked a friend, Sen. Christopher A. Coons (D-Del.), for a scouting report on the senators hammering out the deal. “What can you tell me about how it came together? And how do they know each other? Who is closer to the White House and who is not?” Coons remembered Buttigieg asking him.
“He’s adapted well so far,” added Coons, who said he has known Buttigieg for a decade….
In the eyes of some Buttigieg allies, the transportation job positions him well by giving him a big role in the infrastructure package, a centerpiece of Biden’s presidency. They also think it can help himshore up his biggest weakness as a candidate — his struggles among voters of color — by enabling him to showcase public works projects in diverse communities.
image….Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo after meeting with Senate Republicans in May on infrastructure. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)