Pete Buttigieg

Mayor of South Bend, Indiana
Jump to  stances on the issues
Pete Buttigieg dropped out of the presidential race on March 1, 2020. This page is no longer being updated.
Buttigieg has positioned himself as a moderate and has called for generational change in political leadership. The second-term mayor is a veteran of the war in Afghanistan and was a Rhodes scholar.
Harvard College, B.A., 2004; University of Oxford, Rhodes scholar, 2007
January 19, 1982
Chasten Buttigieg
US Navy Reserve, 2009-2017;
Consultant at McKinsey and Co., 2007-2010


Harris and Buttigieg put on a united front amid rivalry reports
Updated 9:55 PM ET, Thu Dec 2, 2021
"It's 2021." That was the official line from Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg on Thursday as he tried to downplay chatter about his political future, which has become increasingly intertwined with Vice President Kamala Harris, his traveling companion on an infrastructure-themed trip Thursday. The trip came as Washington chatter has heated up over the possibility that Buttigieg could be positioned as the future standard-bearer of the Democratic Party instead of the vice president, should President Joe Biden not run for reelection in 2024. The notion has ignited reports of a shadow rivalry between the pair that hung over their joint trip to North Carolina to tout the newly passed infrastructure law and its effect on the nation's transit. "The whole point of campaigns and elections is, when they go well you get to govern. And we are squarely focused on the job at hand," Buttigieg told reporters in a mid-flight gaggle aboard Air Force Two. While it's unclear whether the joint event was intended to quell chatter of the quiet competition -- a White House official told CNN the trip was planned a "while back," as is other vice presidential travel with Cabinet secretaries -- but both Harris and Buttigieg appeared to take great effort to show that all was well with the barrier-breaking Democratic stars. Before taking off, Buttigieg left Air Force Two to greet Harris upon her landing at Joint Base Andrews. Standing alongside Democratic Rep. Alma Adams of North Carolina, he and Harris shared a quick hug that Harris initiated. Touring a bus depot in Charlotte, Harris turned to Buttigieg before boarding a new electric bus, saying, "Secretary, will you join me?" Inside, Harris joked the vehicle "has that new bus smell," which drew a laugh from the secretary. And when she sat down at the wheel of the bus and blasted the horn, Buttigieg was right by her side. The pair's goodwill appeared to reach a crescendo when Buttigieg dedicated a portion of his remarks to praise the hours Harris logged helping to turn the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill into law, recounting a time where she spoke at "just the right moment" in the Oval Office, telling the lawmakers about "the need to think big, not to get lost in the details of the politics." "She was exactly right," he said. Harris later thanked Buttigieg for his "extraordinary work" as secretary. Buttigieg, 39, and Harris, 57, were once rivals, along with a group of more than a dozen others, when they competed for the 2020 Democratic nomination for president. Since then, the pair's husbands, Chasten Buttigieg and Doug Emhoff, have touted their friendship and posted to social media about their walks around the nation's capital. "Interviewed a new babysitter today," Chasten Buttigieg wrote on Instagram the same day as their spouses' trip, posing in a photo with Emhoff, who was pushing the Buttigieg twins' stroller. But Thursday's not-so-effortless broadcast of a cheerful relationship in front of network cameras and traveling print journalists comes as guessing games about who could take Biden's place is underway among Democrats. Biden has told allies privately and announced publicly that it is his intention to mount a reelection campaign. But his reassurance has not fully stifled the doubters, and Harris' role as the second-in-command -- a heartbeat away from the presidency -- would seemingly put her in pole position to be the next Democratic presidential nominee. However, CNN reported last month that many in the vice president's orbit have expressed frustration that Harris has not been adequately prepared or positioned by the White House and instead is being sidelined. The Transportation secretary's role in the future of Democratic politics has been one that has been closely watched. Harris loyalists told CNN they saw an unfair standard at play after West Wing aides provided cover to Buttigieg when he was attacked by the right, while Harris had not received similar protection after multiple missteps that brought similar criticism. But on Thursday, Harris' allies sought to downplay any lingering tensions. "The only people thinking 2024 is the DC bubble and Donald Trump," one former aide told CNN. "As far as I can tell, it was a pretty good trip where two stars of the Democratic Party are highlighting a chief administration accomplishment in a 2022 and '24 battleground." On Air Force Two, Buttigieg did the same. "As Transportation secretary I get to be the face of a lot of the investments that we're doing, but we would not be here without the leadership of the vice president," the President and others, Buttigieg added.


climate crisis
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Buttigieg released a plan in September 2019 that aims to move the US to clean energy and agriculture, shield existing communities and industries from the effects of climate change and lead a global response to the crisis. He calls for the Department of Defense to set up a Climate Watch Floor and would create a new senior climate security role within the department. He aims to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, pledging to invest $25 billion annually in research by 2025 – a move he compares to the Manhattan Project – and to set a price on carbon, generating money that would be returned to Americans as a dividend. He says his plan would generate 3 million new jobs as the economy transitions to clean energy production. Buttigieg pledges to spend $5 billion annually on grants for rural communities and ensure that new infrastructure “can withstand extreme weather and sea level rise.” He calls for integrating climate change into national security planning. Buttigieg supports the Green New Deal, the broad plan to address renewable-energy infrastructure and climate change proposed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York. He has also proposed his own plan, which would impose a carbon tax on corporations and polluters and pass on the money raised from that tax to Americans as a dividend. Buttigieg has said he would rejoin the Paris climate accord, the landmark 2015 deal on global warming targets that Trump has pledged to abandon. Buttigieg says he wants to ensure the US – “not China” – will lead the climate response globally, and suggests he’d use sanctions to push other countries to adopt carbon-pricing programs. He has also said that while the Paris accord is critical, he would like to hold a “Pittsburgh summit” within his first 100 days as president, where cities would come together to work on curbing emissions. More on Buttigieg’s climate crisis policy
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On the campaign trail, Buttigieg has clearly stated his view that manufacturing jobs are not returning to their previous levels because of factors like automation. In July 2019, he introduced a plan aimed at protecting workers and putting big tech companies firmly in the hot seat. Buttigieg would guarantee the right to join a union for all American workers including gig economy workers – like Uber and Lyft drivers, who are considered independent contractors and not employees of the companies. Buttigieg is no fan of the North American Free Trade Agreement, the trade deal with Canada and Mexico, and has suggested that it caused significant and largely irreversible job loss. He has also focused on the need for the federal government to spur entrepreneurship in underserved communities. He has proposed having the government “triple the number of entrepreneurs from underserved areas – particularly ones of color – within 10 years” by offering grants and incentivizing investment in underserved areas and overhauling credit scoring as a way to open up credit opportunities for traditionally underserved communities. In August 2019, Buttigieg rolled out a proposal to provide $500 million in federal funding for “Regional Innovation Clusters.” Those would allow state and local governments to take the lead on developing economic projects based on the specific needs of individual rural communities through a grant program judged by a panel of entrepreneurs across the country. Buttigieg pledges up to $5 billion to expand apprenticeship networks across the country “to ensure an apprenticeship program in a growing industry is available within 30 miles of every American,” including underserved rural areas. Buttigieg seeks to create “Community Renewal visas,” with the aim of attracting high-skilled immigrants with the promise of attaining green cards at the end of three-year residencies in rural communities. Buttigieg also supports raising the federal hourly minimum wage to $15 and passing paid family and medical leave. More on Buttigieg’s economic policy
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Buttigieg – who, along with his husband, Chasten, has student loan debt that combined amounts to six figures – does not support making college tuition-free. He argues that lower- and middle-income families should benefit from tuition-free public college but not the children of the wealthy, or, as he put it once, “even the children of billionaires.” Buttigieg has looked to tie education affordability to his national service plan. The mayor, who himself served in the Navy Reserve, said his administration would provide support and incentives for students who decide to go into a service field before or after college. Buttigieg says he supports charter schools in some instances, but he said in Iowa earlier this year that “for-profit charter schools should not be our vision for the future.” His plan to combat racial inequality in the United States would increase resources to historically black colleges and universities and other minority-serving institutions by $25 billion. More on Buttigieg’s education policy
gun violence
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Buttigieg released a plan in August 2019 that would increase federal funding to combat hate and violent extremism, boost federal research into gun violence and work with social media companies to stem incendiary rhetoric online. He would dedicate $1 billion to law enforcement, including increasing the FBI’s field staff, for “sufficient resources to counter the growing tide of white nationalist violence.” Those funds would also be reinvested in Department of Homeland Security efforts to fight extremism, violence and hate. Buttigieg supports universal background checks. He has also backed a nationwide gun licensing system and a ban on the sale of so-called assault weapons. As mayor of South Bend, he’s long had a focus on reducing gun violence. Buttigieg joined the Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a group of more than 1,000 current and former mayors advocating stricter gun laws, in 2013 and supported the South Bend Group Violence Intervention, a program aimed at combating gun violence in the city.Buttigieg often talks about gun laws through a personal lens. As the youngest candidate in the 2020 race, he grew up in an era when school shootings have become common. As a veteran, he has training and experience with weapons. More on Buttigieg’s gun violence policy
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Buttigieg supports what he calls “Medicare for all who want it” – an idea that he says is a pathway to the “Medicare for All” proposal backed by other candidates, which would create a national government health care plan and essentially eliminate the private insurance industry. Under Buttigieg’s plan, private health insurance would still exist for consumers. Buttigieg also focuses on health care in his Douglass Plan, aimed at combating inequality for African Americans. He plans to diversify the medical workforce and create “health equity zones” to address health care disparities in certain geographic locations. In August 2019, he proposed a plan to improve health care access in rural communities by waiving visa requirements to attract immigrant doctors, increasing access to telehealth services by expanding high speed internet and creating a new office within the Department of Health and Human Services. Buttigieg plans to reduce maternal mortality rates by funding pre-maternity homes and offering subsidies for housing and transportation. He would also extend Medicaid coverage for one-year postpartum. Currently, Medicaid typically covers only 60 days of postpartum care. In October 2019, Buttigieg released a plan aimed at reducing prescription drug costs and jump-starting pharmaceutical innovation. The plan, titled “Affordable Medicine for All,” would penalize pharmaceutical companies that raise prices by more than the rate of inflation and by increasing the annual Branded Prescription Drug Fee, a section of the Affordable Care Act that sets an annual fee according to each manufacturer’s share of drug sales that goes to government programs like Medicare Part D and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Buttigieg also released an LGBTQ rights plan that proposes eradicating HIV/AIDS by 2030, ensuring access to the HIV drug PrEP for all who need it, finding a cure for AIDS and ensuring health insurance providers cover trans-specific medical care. More on Buttigieg’s health care policy
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Buttigieg has said he wants a comprehensive immigration plan, which would include providing a pathway to citizenship for those who received Obama-era protections for undocumented immigrants, including people brought to the US as minors. He also calls for addressing the backlogs in the immigration and asylum processes and having “reasonable” security measures at the US-Mexico border. “I don’t have a problem with enhanced border security, perhaps to include fencing,” Buttigieg told PBS in February 2019. He suggested border security cannot be simplified with “just putting up a wall from sea to shining sea.” He has also proposed ending family separation at the border and evaluating practices from Immigration and Customs Enforcement and US Customs and Border Protection “to ensure similar humanitarian crises never happen again.” More on Buttigieg’s immigration policy


Breyer's role on the Supreme Court and the hole he's leaving
Updated 5:01 AM ET, Thu Jan 27, 2022
Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer can come across as a bookish government man, captivated by the nitty-gritty of regulations and convinced that Washington, on the whole, works. Ensconced in chambers lined with shelves of antique books on philosophy inherited from an uncle and strewn with briefs, papers and more books, he has filled his opinions with charts, statistics and multi-point rationales. But the liberal Breyer also wrote far-reaching opinions endorsing abortion rights and, in dissent, backing school integration. And behind the scenes at the court, the 83-year-old justice is known for trying to build consensus, even as the court grew more conservative, and he worked against the odds. The bespectacled Breyer, who often quotes British humorist P.G. Wodehouse and retells his grandchildren's jokes, has conversed easily with all eight of his colleagues, dodging the friction of clashing ideologies and personalities. As such, Breyer will leave a hole in the fabric of the court when he officially steps down later this year. More than most of his colleagues, he worked to bridge the conservative-liberal divide that was long 5-4 and now is 6-3. Any successor would presumably lack Breyer's Washington experience. But a replacement would bring new youthfulness to the left side of the bench and, if President Joe Biden fulfills a campaign promise, would mean the first Black female justice in the court's history. Among Breyer's notable moves at the center of the court: helping craft a compromise with Chief Justice John Roberts in 2012 to uphold the Affordable Care Act and casting the decisive vote in 2005 regarding displays of the Ten Commandments. His solo concurring statement allowed a 40-year-old monument at the Texas Capitol to remain in place -- but meant framed Ten Commandment displays in Kentucky courthouses had to be removed. One of Breyer's most robust opinions emerged as he protested a 2007 majority decision striking down school integration plans in Seattle and in Louisville, Kentucky. The plans, which allowed consideration of students' race in school assignments, were intended to offset neighborhood housing patterns and bring districtwide diversity. "This is a decision that the Court and the Nation will come to regret," Breyer wrote, adding that Roberts and the conservatives who joined him had undermined the promise of the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education school-desegregation landmark. Breyer had been reared in San Francisco, where his parents were active in the community and local schools. His father, Irving Breyer, a lawyer, served the San Francisco school district. Justice Breyer still wears the Omega Seamaster wristwatch his father was given upon retirement. During the earlier stages of the Covid-19 pandemic, Breyer regularly decamped with his wife, a daughter and three grandchildren to the family home in Cambridge, Massachusetts. But he remained active on Zoom, appearing before legal groups and students. He returned with his colleagues to in-person oral arguments in October. He quipped in interviews that their ritual handshakes before each of their meetings had been replaced with elbow bumps, as a precaution against the virus. "We're rubbing elbows," he said, holding up his elbow and rotating it midair. In an expansive interview with CNN in October, Breyer defended the high court against criticism that it engages in politics or requires institutional revisions such as term limits for justices or seats beyond the current nine. "It's an institution that's fallible, though over time it has served this country pretty well," he said. Of his own approach, Breyer added, "Once you put on the robe of the judge, you're a judge. And that means you're a judge for every person. Every person won't like your decisions. A lot will dislike them. ... You still have to remember that you are there for everybody." In a book he published last year, adapted from a lecture at Harvard, Breyer maintained that the justices were not as politically divided as they appeared, now split between six Republican-appointed conservatives and three Democrat-appointed liberals. He insisted that differences with his colleagues flowed from their distinct views of the structure of the Constitution. Yet in classic Breyer style, he had a three-point caveat to his claim that judging and politics don't mix: "[I]t is wrong to think of the Court as another political institution. And it is doubly wrong to think of its Members as junior league politicians. But, given 1) the highly general language of the Constitution; 2) the ambiguous relationship between jurisprudence, political philosophy, and policy, and 3) the inevitable, conscious or unconscious impact of a human being's background upon his or her basic professional views, to find a total divorce between the two is not quite right either." How Breyer got to the bench President Bill Clinton appointed Breyer to succeed the retiring Justice Harry Blackmun in 1994. Breyer previously had been a US appellate judge in Boston. An architecture enthusiast, he oversaw (as chief judge on the 1st US Circuit Court of Appeals) construction of a dramatic federal courthouse overlooking Boston Harbor and distinguished by an 88-foot glass wall that faces the water. Breyer's legal career began at the Supreme Court, where he was a law clerk to Justice Arthur Goldberg. In the 1970s, he served as counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee, assisting Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts, who strongly recommended Breyer to Clinton. In his Senate work, Breyer focused on criminal sentencing guidelines and airline deregulation. As a judge, he continued to support agency solutions, especially in the face of court conservatives trying to rein in regulators. He also highlighted the importance of individual participation in civic life. "For our government to remain a democratic republic," he wrote in a dissenting opinion in 2020 that touched on both themes, "the people must be free to generate, debate, and discuss both general and specific ideas, hopes, and experiences. The people must then be able to transmit their resulting views and conclusions to their elected representatives. The object of that transmission is to influence the public policy enacted by elected representatives." He spoke as he wrote. To lawyers who argued before the justices, Breyer offered multi-part questions. His hypothetical scenarios grew wilder through the years, and he would inevitably leaven his queries with a self-deprecating remark. "This question may seem naive and simple-minded," he said during one 2021 argument, "but I don't mean it to be." Fluent in French, Breyer has sometimes invoked Albert Camus' "The Plague" in oral arguments and speeches. During 2021 oral arguments in a case testing when police without a warrant may enter a home under certain emergency circumstances, he began a scenario: "A baby's been crying for five hours; nobody seems to be around. A rat's come out of the house at a time when rats carry serious disease and have to be stopped." Breyer later added in the same colloquy: "Try reading 'The Plague.' Try reading something where a rat coming out of a house could give people bubonic plague. I mean, you know, it's easy to invent hypotheticals." Moderate liberal rulings The late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg joined the high court a year before Breyer, as Clinton's first appointee, and she more prominently carried the banner for liberals. So, too, has Justice Sonia Sotomayor, a 2009 appointee of President Barack Obama. Breyer has partnered most with Justice Elena Kagan, who was named by Obama in 2010. They have been allies in trying to work with the individual justices on the right. In 2012, when Roberts broke from his conservative brethren to uphold the Obamacare law, he conferred with Breyer and Kagan for compromises on the individual insurance mandate and Medicaid expansion. Last year, when the justices rejected a challenge to Obamacare for the third time, Roberts assigned the opinion to Breyer, who wrote a narrow, consensus decision outright rejecting the claims. The court said the Republican-led states and other challengers lacked legal "standing" because they had suffered no injury related to the law. The case had centered on a tax penalty in the Affordable Care Act that Congress zeroed out in 2017. Breyer's moderate liberalism has also led him to a leading role in a string of abortion-rights cases. His moderate approach, acknowledging the various interests, enabled him to keep the requisite five votes for a majority, at least through 2020, when liberal Ginsburg died and was succeeded by conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett, an opponent of abortion rights. "We understand the controversial nature of the problem," he wrote in a 2000 case. "Millions of Americans believe that life begins at conception and consequently that an abortion is akin to causing the death of an innocent child; they recoil at the thought of a law that would permit it. Other millions fear that a law that forbids abortion would condemn many American women to lives that lack dignity, depriving them of equal liberty and leading those with least resources to undergo illegal abortions with the attendant risks of death and suffering." In 2016, conservative Justice Anthony Kennedy provided the crucial fifth vote for a Breyer opinion striking down a strict Texas abortion regulation on physicians and clinics. In 2020, Breyer produced only a plurality opinion (with three liberal justices), as the court invalidated a similar Louisiana credentialing regulation for physicians who perform abortions. Roberts cast the fifth vote to strike down the law, but unlike Kennedy, who retired in 2018, Roberts would not join Breyer's broader abortion-rights rationale. The court's view of abortion rights is certain to diminish -- because of the strengthened conservative majority. Breyer dissented in late 2021 and again this month as the right wing repeatedly refused to prevent a Texas ban on abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy. In a separate line of cases, Breyer has regularly criticized the US system of capital punishment but stopped short of the position taken by liberals of another era that the death penalty is plainly unconstitutional. In a 2015 opinion, joined only by Ginsburg, he urged the justices to reconsider the constitutionality of capital punishment. He cited "three fundamental constitutional defects" in the death penalty: "(1) serious unreliability, (2) arbitrariness in application, and (3) unconscionably long delays that undermine the death penalty's penological purpose." Perhaps Breyer's most memorable writing came in the 2007 case known as Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1, when the ma