Opinion | Can Pete Buttigieg Deliver Joe Manchin?


President Biden’s Jobs Plan could be this generation’s New Deal. Or it could be a pipe dream. As Republicans like the Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, stand poised to fight the bill “every step of the way,” the administration may eventually need to turn to a budget reconciliation process that will hinge on support from every Senate Democrat — including Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who is coyly hanging his hat on bipartisanship.

Enter Secretary Pete Buttigieg (or, as Kara Swisher calls him, “Secretary Mayor Pete”). The 39-year old transportation secretary has become a key messenger and poster boy for the $2 trillion infrastructure overhaul, leveraging the same Midwestern roots and unflappable approach that earned him a stint as the Biden campaign’s surrogate-of-choice on Fox News last year.

In this conversation, Swisher and Buttigieg get wonky about public transit, climate change, electric cars and whether public investment will subsidize billionaires like Elon Musk or be paid for by them. Swisher also presses the secretary on his optimism about bipartisanship, and if he’s ready to bring Manchin to the table when Republicans don’t roll over.

Thoughts? Email us at sway@nytimes.com. Transcripts of each episode are available midday.

Special thanks to Bryson Barnes, Ben Phelan, Michelle Harris, Shannon Busta and Liriel Higa.

“Sway” is produced by Nayeema Raza, Blakeney Schick, Heba Elorbany, Matt Kwong and Daphne Chen, and edited by Nayeema Raza and Paula Szuchman; fact-checking by Kate Sinclair; music and sound design by Isaac Jones; mixing by Erick Gomez.



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