House Republicans approved an amendment to reduce Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg’s salary to $1
U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), known for performative “messaging” bills designed to cater to far-right voters, introduced the amendment, which was tacked onto the 2024 Transportation and Housing Urban Development spending bill by a voice vote.
The bill still needs to be approved by the full House and approved by the Democratic-led Senate, so it is unlikely that the pay cut will be passed into law.
“Pete Buttigieg doesn’t do his job. Its (sic) all about fake photo ops and taxpayer-funded private jet trip to accept LGBTQ awards for him,” Greene wrote on X, alluding to rumors that Buttigieg took a taxpayer-funded plane to travel to an LGBTQ awards show.
Since taking the position of Transportation Secretary, Buttigieg has faced a near-daily drumbeat of criticism from right-wing politicians, influencers, and pundits, for offenses — both real and imagined — often fixating on his sexual orientation.
With respect to his travel habits, the Transportation Department announced in February it would audit Buttigieg’s use of FAA private jets.
Buttigieg is believed to have taken 18 such flights since taking office, costing taxpayers around $42,000. But the Transportation Secretary has welcomed the audit, expressing confidence that the facts will help dispel any “misleading narratives.”
“Bottom line: I mostly fly on commercial flights, in economy class. And when I do use our agency’s aircraft, it’s usually a situation where doing so saves taxpayer money,” Buttigieg said in a post to X at the time.
Glad this will be reviewed independently so misleading narratives can be put to rest.
Bottom line: I mostly fly on commercial flights, in economy class. And when I do use our agency’s aircraft, it’s usually a situation where doing so saves taxpayer money. https://t.co/wUtBtjx9CT
— Secretary Pete Buttigieg (@SecretaryPete) February 27, 2023
House Republicans seem intent on using the Holman Rule — which allows lawmakers to propose amendments to appropriations bills that decrease salaries for specific federal workers to $1 — to disparage members of the Biden cabinet.
The Holman Rule was reintroduced in January as part of a rules package agreed to by former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) in the hope of swaying some GOP hardliners to back his bid for the speakership, reports The Hill.
Greene has previously attempted to use the Holman Rule to attack officials within the Biden administration as part of a larger strategy casting Biden as incompetent for the presidency, proposing an amendment to a funding bill in September that would have slashed the pay of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.
Greene’s latest grandstanding comes at a time when House Republicans are at odds over how to pass spending bills that will keep the government funded without prompting a shutdown.
Greene isn’t the only member to engage in such budgetary shenanigans: U.S. Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-N.Y.) set her sights on White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, arguing that the president’s chief spokesperson has a long history of “lies,” although it’s not been proven that Jean-Pierre actually said some of the statements that Tenney attributes to her.
“During Ms. Jean-Pierre’s tenure as press secretary, she has repeatedly lied to the American people and acted in a condescending manner toward reporters, and also violated the Hatch Act,” Tenney claimed in a speech on the House floor introducing her amendment.
It remains unclear how Jean-Pierre was “condescending,” as Tenney did not delve into specifics, but it may refer to Jean-Pierre having to raise her voice when reporters from conservative media outlets routinely talk over her or interrupt her.
Tenney accused Jean-Pierre of being an “election denier,” pointing to a tweet from 2016 in which Jean-Pierre wrote, “Stolen emails, stolen drone, stolen election …..welcome to the world of #unpresidented Trump.”
Tenney also accused Jean-Pierre of claiming that so-called “critical race theory” isn’t being taught in schools — an oft-repeated right-wing trope that conservatives frequently employ.
The term doesn’t so much refer to the collegiate-level theory, as much as it is a “catch-all” buzzword referring to any curriculum content that is tangentially related to race, racism, the celebration of cultural or ethnic identity, or diversity and inclusion — concepts that conservatives oppose being taught in schools.
While she didn’t bring up Jean-Pierre’s identity as an out lesbian — unlike Greene, who brought up Buttigieg’s sexual orientation in her speech justifying cutting his salary — Tenney has a record of anti-LGBTQ votes in Congress, despite having been listed as an “ally” by the LGBTQ political group Log Cabin Republicans for having co-sponsored the Fair and Equal Housing Act, a housing nondiscrimination bill, in 2017.
Particularly following the latest round of redistricting, when Tenney chose to run in a more conservative district that neither contains her hometown of New Hartford nor some of the Democratic-leaning cities and towns that her old district did, Tenney has been decisively less friendly to LGBTQ interests.
She voted against the Respect for Marriage Act and co-sponsored and voted for a bill to ban transgender students from participating on sports teams matching their gender identity.
Unlike Greene’s amendment to slash Buttigieg’s salary, Tenney’s motion was rejected, with only 165 Republicans voting for it.
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