Washington [US], February 3 (ANI): The US Senate on Tuesday voted to confirm Pete Buttigieg as transportation secretary, making him the first openly LGBTQ member of the White House Cabinet.
The upper chamber of the US Congress voted 86-13 to approve Buttigieg's nomination. He is the 19th Transportation secretary and the fifth member of President Joe Biden's Cabinet to be confirmed by the Senate. He is also the first openly gay Senate-confirmed Cabinet member in US history, as reported by The Hill.
Buttigieg is the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and a Navy veteran who also ran against Biden in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary before dropping out of the race and throwing his support to the now-President.
Senators who voted against Buttigieg's nomination were Republicans Tom Cotton, Ted Cruz, Bill Cassidy, Roger Marshall, Rick Scott, Tommy Tuberville, Richard Shelby, Josh Hawley, Marsha Blackburn, Marco Rubio, Tim Scott, Bill Hagerty, and James Lankford.
The Senate already confirmed Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
Buttigieg's nomination was advanced by the Senate Commerce Committee last week through a broad bipartisan vote, with only three Republican senators voting against it.
The Hill further reported that the newly-confirmed Secretary 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.
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.
"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 as quoted by The Hill.
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 added. (ANI)
CNN further reported that the Senate is also set to vote later Tuesday to confirm Alejandro Mayorkas as Homeland Security secretary. Mayorkas was among Biden's earliest announced nominees and would be the first Latino and immigrant to serve at the helm of the department. (ANI)