Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has reportedly been on paid leave for months as the U.S. is facing a historic supply chain crisis that is causing pain for Americans throughout the course of their daily lives.
“While U.S. ports faced anchor-to-anchor traffic and Congress nearly melted down over the president’s infrastructure bill in recent weeks, the usually omnipresent Transportation secretary was lying low,” Politico reported. “They didn’t previously announce it, but Buttigieg’s office told West Wing Playbook that the secretary has actually been on paid leave since mid-August to spend time with his husband, Chasten, and their two newborn babies.”
A spokesperson for the department told Politico that Buttigieg was “mostly offline” for the “first four weeks” except “for major agency decisions and matters that could not be delegated.”
“He has been ramping up activities since then,” the spokesperson claimed, adding that Buttigieg will “continue to take some time over the coming weeks to support his husband and take care of his new children.”
Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) slammed Buttigieg in a statement to Breitbart News on Thursday evening, saying:
We’re in the middle of a transportation crisis, and Pete Buttigieg is sitting at home. Meanwhile, cargo boats are unable to dock and shelves are sitting empty. Pete needs to either get back to work or leave the Department of Transportation. It’s time to put American families first.
Buttigieg’s absence comes as a $1 trillion pipeline of goods from Asia to the U.S. has been clogged for months, leading to skyrocketing shipping costs which are exacerbating inflationary pressures on an economy that is struggling to rebound under Democrat President Joe Biden’s administration.
A new report from Moody’s Analytics warns that the supply chain disruptions “will get worse before they get better.”
“As the global economic recovery continues to gather steam, what is increasingly apparent is how it will be stymied by supply-chain disruptions that are now showing up at every corner,” this week’s report said. “Border controls and mobility restrictions, unavailability of a global vaccine pass, and pent-up demand from being stuck at home have combined for a perfect storm where global production will be hampered because deliveries are not made in time, costs and prices will rise and GDP growth worldwide will not be as robust as a result.”
The report pinned the supply chain crisis on shortages of truck drivers, differences in how countries are fighting the pandemic, and a lack of a global effort to streamline operations.
“This will not be an issue next year at all,” JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon predicted on Monday. “This is the worst part of it. I think great market systems will adjust for it like companies have.”