(FreedomBeacon.com)- Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg was once again on vacation while the country needed him, the first incident being when he was on paternity leave amid Biden’s supply chain crisis. The former mayor was vacationing at a famous hotspot in Europe as the threat of a nationwide railroad strike loomed, according to The Daily Wire. Buttigieg reportedly left for Porto, Portugal on August 29, just days before Amtrak started canceling travelers’ trips in anticipation of the strike.
Unions demanded that workers get paid sick leave, which was not reportedly on the final contract that was passed by lawmakers and was sent to President Biden to be signed. Buttigieg, who had been put in charge of leading negotiations, went on vacation, drawing ire and criticism from Republican lawmakers.
“Pete Buttigieg will take paid vacation in Europe for days on end but doesn’t think rail workers should get more than one day of sick leave,” Republican Sen. Josh Hawley said in a statement.
The secretary reportedly wanted to maintain the illusion that he was still in the U.S. after his posts on social media. His office claims that Buttigieg was traveling on personal time and was available for contact for rail labor negotiations. His office also claimed that the trip was planned in advance and his work had helped prevent the rail shutdown.
While Sen. Hawley criticized Buttigieg for taking a vacation and not caring about workers getting more than one day of sick leave, he also took the majority of Republicans to task after they voted “no” on a bill to give railroad workers paid sick leave, according to Newsweek.
The bill was designed to avert a nationwide rail strike that many feared would cripple the U.S. economy before Christmas and projected would cost the U.S. billions of dollars per day.
Hawley, along with Sens. Mike Braun, Ted Cruz, Lindsey Graham, John Kennedy, and Marco Rubio, voted with Democrats in favor. In contrast, Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, who was the only Democrat to vote against the measure, said that he was sympathetic to the workers’ concerns, but ultimately did not think it was the job of Congress to “renegotiate a collective bargaining agreement.”