(The Post Millennial) – As US ports continue to face backlogs amid a worsening supply chain crisis, it has been revealed that the Biden administration’s absent Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has been out on paternity leave since August.
In recent weeks, there have been questions regarding the Buttigieg’s whereabouts as the usually ubiquitous transportation secretary lays low. According to Politico, Buttigieg’s office recently disclosed that he has been on paid leave since mid-August to fulfill his duties as a new parent. Buttigieg and his husband Chasten revealed on Sept. 4 that they had welcomed a boy and girl into the world.
A spokesperson for the Department of Transportation stated: “For the first four weeks, [Buttigieg] was mostly offline except for major agency decisions and matters that could not be delegated,” and the he will “continue to take some time over the coming weeks to support his husband and take care of his new children.”
As Politico reports, Buttigieg has, since last week, begun ramping up his media activity, appearing on numerous TV shows and podcasts.
According to the Office of Human Resources Management, federal employees are allowed to take “up to 12 weeks of paid parental leave … in connection with the birth or placement (for adoption or foster care) of a child occurring on or after October 1, 2020.” While federal employees are eligible, the same benefits are not typically extended to Cabinet secretaries, since they are appointed by the president, and must receive permission from the commander-in-chief before taking time off.
When asked if President Joe Biden approved Buttigieg’s parental leave, a White House official said, “Pete’s been a key member of the team since Day One, and has been critical as we shepherd the President’s agenda across the finish line. We’re overjoyed for him and Chasten, and believe every American should have access to paid family leave.”
While many applaud Buttigieg’s decision to put his family first, others have criticized him for continuing to take time off as the pipeline of goods from Asia into the US continues to back up, putting pressure on an already struggling Biden economy.