Pete Buttigieg, the Transportation Secretary, responded firmly to criticism from House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) regarding his performance in running the Transportation Department. Johnson had expressed his dissatisfaction while discussing the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill during a visit to a Sarasota, Fla. project funded by the bipartisan infrastructure law.
In response, Buttigieg highlighted that Johnson had voted against the very infrastructure law that was supporting the project they were touring. He also pointed out Johnson’s two recent votes to reduce air traffic control budgets this year. Buttigieg characterized Johnson’s comments as “unserious” given this context.
The project in question, Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport, is receiving $100 million in funding from the infrastructure law for an expansion. Johnson’s visit to the project after voting against the legislation prompted criticism from Florida Rep. Kathy Castor (D), who described it as “awkward” and “shameful.”
This situation reflects a broader trend, where Democratic lawmakers and Biden administration officials have been quick to highlight instances of Republican lawmakers touting investments in their states funded by bills they opposed, such as the infrastructure law and the Inflation Reduction Act.