The U.S. Senate on Thursday voted 100-0 to approve Charlotte, N.C., Mayor Anthony Foxx to head the U.S. Transportation Department, handing him the job as tight budgets are forcing lawmakers to rethink how to fund huge U.S. infrastructure needs.
The 42-year-old Foxx joins President Barack Obama’s Cabinet after four years as mayor of the 17th largest U.S. city and four years on the Charlotte city council.
Under his leadership, Charlotte was selected host city for the 2012 Democratic party convention, which propelled Obama to a second term in the White House and brought Foxx national recognition.
He now will oversee a department with about 53,000 full-time employees and over $72 billion in budget authority. In addition, over 12 million Americans are employed in transportation-related jobs that could be affected by decisions Foxx makes.
Foxx is the third member of Obama’s second term Cabinet approved in the past two weeks with broad bipartisan support, unlike the battle over approval of former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel to be defense secretary.
The Senate voted 97 to 1 on Tuesday to approve Chicago billionaire businesswoman Penny Pritzker to be commerce secretary, and voted 93 to 4 last week to give Obama’s international economic affairs adviser Mike Froman the job of U.S. trade representative. Hagel, in contrast, was approved 58-41 after an acrimonious confirmation battle. (Reporting by Doug Palmer; Editing by Vicki Allen)