Buttigieg Confirmation Hearing Set for January 21

Buttigieg Confirmation Hearing Set for January 21

January 15, 2021  | Jeff Davis

The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee has set a date for a confirmation hearing for South Bend, Indiana mayor (and former presidential candidate) Pete Buttigieg to be U.S. Secretary of Transportation. The hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Thursday, January 21.

Has Buttigieg had time to learn all that he needs to know about being Secretary of Transportation? Of course not. But these hearings aren’t about his knowing everything. It’s about him figuring out which specific issues are important to which members of the Senate committee. And they will already have told him the answers to most of those questions during their individual meetings that have already been ongoing.

Buttigieg will be expected to tell the short version of his life story and why transportation is so important to him and to the nation (which he has already done, when Biden announced his nomination) and add some boilerplate about priorities that he will have cleared with the transition staff. Then he will have to listen to each member of the committee tell him about what is important to their state and promise to work with them to address those issues (preferably accompanied by a visit to the state – Dan Sullivan will almost certainly extract a promise to come to Alaska, Brian Schatz to Hawaii, etc etc).

One can also expect a lot of Amtrak love, what with Buttigieg’s fondness for the railroad and the bipartisan support for the passenger railroad on that committee. And he can discuss which of the easily-reversible Trump Administration policies he would reverse quickly in his tenure.

Beyond that, since President-elect Biden said last night that he will be unveiling some of his infrastructure plan at his State of the Union address in February (not before), don’t expect any real details about forthcoming policy proposals. This hearing isn’t about that – it is about getting Buttigieg on the record early about his willingness to work with the Senate committee and to prioritize the top issues of that committee’s members above most other priorities of other members of Congress.

Unless something goes drastically wrong (and rarely does, at the Cabinet level in a new President’s opening round of nominations, though there were Tom Daschle’s back taxes and John Tower’s behavior issues), this should put Buttigieg on track to be confirmed by the end of the month.

The online Senate nominations database only goes back to 1981, but here are the initial SecDOT nominations of each first-term president starting with Reagan, and the rapidity of their hearings and of their Senate confirmation votes.

Hearing Confirmed
Reagan 1981 Drew Lewis Jan 7 Jan 22
Bush 1989 Sam Skinner Jan 25 Jan 31
Clinton 1993 Federico Pena Jan 7 Jan 21
Bush 2001 Norm Mineta Jan 24 Jan 24
Obama 2009 Ray LaHood Jan 21 Jan 22
Trump 2017 Elaine Chao Jan 24 Jan 31
Share

Related Articles

Trottenberg Gets Good Reception At Senate Confirmation Hearing

Trottenberg Gets Good Reception At Senate Confirmation Hearing

Polly Trottenberg, President Biden's nominee to serve as Deputy Secretary of Transportation, got a good reception March 3 at her...

Workshop: Everything You Need to Know About Surface Transportation Funding and Policy

Workshop: Everything You Need to Know About Surface Transportation Funding and Policy

This webinar was held live exclusively for members and alumni.  A new administration on the Hill means new staff, new priorities, and...

Buttigieg Sworn In As SecDOT, While New Personnel Announced

Buttigieg Sworn In As SecDOT, While New Personnel Announced

Pete Buttigieg was sworn in as the 19th United States Secretary of Transportation on the morning of February 3, following a successful...

Senate Sets Buttigieg Vote for Noon Tuesday

Senate Sets Buttigieg Vote for Noon Tuesday

The U.S. Senate has scheduled the vote on confirmation of Pete Buttigieg's nomination for Secretary of Transportation to occur at 12 noon...

Buttigieg Impresses Senate Committee at Confirmation Hearing

Buttigieg Impresses Senate Committee at Confirmation Hearing

Pete Buttigieg, President Biden's nominee to serve as U.S. Secretary of Transportation, survived his confirmation hearing before a Senate...

Trottenberg Leads Team of Biden Appointees to USDOT

Trottenberg Leads Team of Biden Appointees to USDOT

As one of its last acts, the Biden transition on January 18 announced that Polly Trottenberg will be President Biden's nominee to be Deputy...

Buttigieg Confirmation Hearing Set for January 21

Buttigieg Confirmation Hearing Set for January 21

The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee has set a date for a confirmation hearing for South Bend, Indiana mayor (and...

Chao Resigns From DOT in Protest

Chao Resigns From DOT in Protest

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao was the first Cabinet-level Trump official to resign in protest of President Trump's role in inciting...

Senate Confirms New DOT Inspector General, but Other Nominees Still Waiting

Senate Confirms New DOT Inspector General, but Other Nominees Still Waiting

Yesterday, the U.S. Senate confirmed President Trump's nominee to be Inspector General of the Department of Transportation by a party-line...

10 Transportation Priorities for the Biden Administration

10 Transportation Priorities for the Biden Administration

This week’s announcement of Mayor Pete Buttigieg ends rampant speculation about who might fill that top spot. Buttigieg will bring...

Final FY21 Appropriations Bill Gives $88 Billion to USDOT

Final FY21 Appropriations Bill Gives $88 Billion to USDOT

Division L of the massive 5,600-page year-end funding bill is the regular Transportation-HUD appropriations bill for fiscal year 2021, and...

Biden Names Buttigieg to Be U.S. Transportation Secretary

Biden Names Buttigieg to Be U.S. Transportation Secretary

President-elect Joe Biden on December 16 formally announced that former South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg will be his nominee to be...

Be Part of the Conversation
Sign up to receive news, events, publications, and course notifications.
No thanks