From his perch as chairman of the U.S. House Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee, U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., is signaling that he is willing to work with the incoming administration even as he never quite embraced Donald Trump’s presidential bid.
Diaz-Balart was clear throughout 2016 that he would back the Republican presidential nominee but never referred to Trump by the name. Still, that lukewarm support was more than what Trump received from South Florida Republicans U.S. Reps. Carlos Curbelo and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.
With the Trump team planning for a $1 trillion federal transportation and infrastructure program over the next ten years, Diaz-Balart will have a large seat at the table as Congress gets ready to examine the proposal.
Last week, when Trump tapped former U.S. Sec. of Labor Elaine Chao, the wife of U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to lead the Transportation Department, Diaz-Balart gave the selection high marks.
"I commend President-elect Trump for selecting Elaine Chao to serve as the secretary of the Department of Transportation,” Diaz-Balart said. “Elaine is a bright, capable woman, and her previous Cabinet experience will be helpful in this role. I look forward to working with her to improve our nation's infrastructure to best serve our country's needs."
Diaz-Balart also offered praise for Dr. Ben Carson on Monday after Trump picked his former presidential primary rival to lead the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department.
“I thank Dr. Ben Carson for his willingness to serve our country as HUD secretary,” Diaz-Balart said. “He will bring an outsider’s perspective, helping to shake things up so the agency can better serve families across the United States. Dr. Carson has a true passion for helping people, and I look forward to working with him to improve the quality and efficiency of our housing programs.”