Pete Buttigieg wins Senate committee vote as Biden Transportation secretary
By David Shepardson WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Pete Buttigieg, a former mayor who challenged Joe Biden for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, won U.S. Senate Commerce Committee approval on Wednesday, 21-3, to head the U.S. Transportation Department
By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Pete Buttigieg, a former mayor who challenged Joe Biden for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, won U.S. Senate Commerce Committee approval on Wednesday, 21-3, to head the U.S. Transportation Department.
The full Senate will cast a final vote as early as this week on Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, who will oversee aviation, highways, vehicles, pipelines and transit as Biden's secretary of transportation.
Biden, who entered the White House a week ago, has proposed $20 billion in additional government assistance to help U.S. transit systems struggling with a massive falloff in ridership amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Congress has allocated $39 billion in emergency funding for transit systems, including $14 billion approved last month, and $65 billion in government loans and bailouts to U.S. passenger airlines. Lawmakers awarded $12 billion to airports and $2 billion to the Amtrak passenger train service.
Last week, New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson wrote Buttigieg asking him to immediately authorize the implementation of New York's congestion pricing plan requiring drivers to pay a surcharge in certain heavily trafficked Manhattan neighborhoods.
The plan to impose tolls on drivers entering Manhattan below 60th Street is expected to raise up to $1 billion in annual revenue.
Buttigieg must decide whether to fund a planned $13 billion tunnel connecting New York and New Jersey in the heavily traveled Northeast rail corridor. Senator Bob Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat, said the Trump administration delayed a key Environmental Impact Statement for years.
Biden wants to dramatically boost spending on U.S. infrastructure and vows to boost fuel economy standards that were slashed under Trump and to replace the government's vehicle fleet with electric vehicles.
Past President Donald Trump never had a Senate-confirmed head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which has numerous ongoing auto safety investigations.
(Reporting by David Shepardson, Editing by Franklin Paul and Howard Goller)
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By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.