OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Republicans have a habit of continuously bailing out Democrats when they need it and that trend has continued for Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.
This week, nine Republicans joined 200 Democrats in voting to not have Buttigieg reveal where he goes on planes paid for by the taxpayers, The New York Post reported.
The requirement was included in an amendment to legislation funding the Federal Aviation Administration for the next five years.
The measure, pitched by Rep. Mary Miller (R-Ill.), called for the FAA’s administrator to “submit to Congress a report containing the flight records of the Secretary of Transportation for any flight on an aircraft owned by the Federal Aviation Administration” within the previous three years.
“Secretary Buttigieg and President Biden’s policies have created chaos within the FAA,” the representative said. “Under the Biden administration, we saw the first full
ground stoppage of all flights since September 11.
“Taxpayers deserve to know where Secretary Pete was jetting off to on a private jet while our constituents were dealing with canceled and delayed flights,” she said.
But Democrats complained, and nine Republicans agreed, that they Amendment was a waste of taxpayer dollars and time.
“There is no basis as to why this report should be needed,” Tennessee Democrat Rep. Steve Cohen said. “There are many pressing issues the FAA should dedicate its attention toward in this reauthorization, and the gentlewoman’s amendment would detract from those efforts.”
On of the Republicans who voted against the measure said that he did so by mistake.
”During a busy vote series late Wednesday night, Rep. Balderson inadvertently voted against Rep. Miller’s amendment to shed light on Secretary Buttigieg’s superfluous taxpayer-funded travel,” Ohio Republican Rep. Troy Balderson’s spokesman, Kyle Chance, said to The Post.
The others who voted against the measure were Reps. “Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), Brandon Williams (R-NY), David Joyce (R-Ohio), Garret Graves (R-La.), Jack Bergman (R-Mich.), Jennifer Kiggans (R-Va.), Marcus Molinaro (R-NY), and House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-Mo.),” The Post said.
Stunningly three Democrat Reps. Yadira Caraveo, Ted Lieu, and Katie Porter voted with the majority of Republicans in favor of the Amendment.
New York Rep. Williams, said to The Post that “the right venue for holding Secretary Buttigieg accountable is either the courts … or with appropriate House oversight action.
“I supported Chairman Graves’ effort to avoid holding the FAA reauthorization hostage to this important, but misplaced oversight action,” he said. “The people of NY-22 did not send me to DC to tie-up critical, time-sensitive legislation with ineffectual distractions. I was sent to govern.”
The Post reported.
Molinaro, who reps the sprawling 19th District, explained his vote to The Post by saying: “I expect the House to subpoena his travel records.”
Buttigieg, a 2020 presidential contender and vocal advocate of combating climate change, has come under fierce scrutiny from Republicans over his stewardship over the Department of Transportation.
In December, Fox News reported that he took at least 18 flights on FAA jets between 2021 and the middle of 2022.
The matter is being investigated by the Department of Transportation’s Office of the Inspector General
The bill to reauthorize the FAA for five years — the Securing Growth and Robust Leadership in American Aviation Act — cleared the House Thursday by a 351-69 vote.
Last month Buttigieg attacked Republican presidential candidate and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
The governor, who is a candidate for president, aired an ad last week that purported to show a contrast between him and former President Donald Trump on supporting LGBTQ issues.
The ad was widely panned by Republicans who believed that the governor’s campaign damaged itself with it, and one of those critics, who appeared on the CNN show “State of the Union” on Sunday, is one of them.
“Mr. Secretary, Ron DeSantis’ campaign tweeted a video attacking President Trump for his past support for LGBTQ Americans. He touted DeSantis’ own record of restricting their rights. I want you to look and listen to just part of that long video,” anchor Dana Bash said.
The host then played part of the DeSantis campaign video and asked the secretary for his response, which included talking about oiled-up bodybuilders.
“You know, I’m going to choose my words carefully, partly because I’m appearing as secretary, so I can’t talk about campaigns, and I’m going to leave aside the strangeness of trying to prove your manhood by putting up a video that splices images of you in between oiled-up shirtless bodybuilders, and just get to the bigger issue that is on my mind whenever I see this stuff in the policy space, which is, again, who are you trying to help? Who are you trying to make better off? What public policy problems do you get up in the morning thinking about how to solve?” he said.
“I just don’t understand the mentality of somebody who gets up in the morning, thinking that he’s going to prove his worth by competing over who can make life hardest for a hard-hit community that is already so vulnerable in America,” he said.