Senate Confirms Raimondo For Commerce Secretary

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Michael Ginsberg Congressional Correspondent
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The Senate voted on Tuesday to confirm former Democratic Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo as Commerce Secretary.

Raimondo was confirmed by an 84-15 margin. She was serving in her second term as Rhode Island governor before her confirmation, and had previously as Rhode Island Attorney General, according to the Associated Press. She also worked as a venture capitalist.

Raimondo is the twelfth member of President Joe Biden’s cabinet to be confirmed, according to Ballotpedia. Biden had previously considered nominating her to Secretary of the Treasury and Secretary of Health and Human Services. She was also in the running for Biden’s vice presidential pick.

Raimondo was repeatedly pressed by Senate Republicans during her confirmation hearings on how she would respond to Chinese trade practices. The United States must “take aggressive trade enforcement actions to combat unfair trade practices from China and other nations that undercut American manufacturing,” she said during one hearing.

However, those assurances were not enough for Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who voted against Raimondo, saying that “she refused to” commit to keeping Chinese tech giant Huawei on the Commerce Department’s entity list. “This appears to be part of a pattern of a systemic decision to embrace communist China,” he told AP. (RELATED: Chinese Tech CEO ‘Would Welcome’ Discussion With Biden, Hopes US Takes Softer Approach Toward China)

As governor, Raimondo angered labor leaders by raising the state’s retirement age from 62 to 67. Her nomination was opposed by unions such as the American Federation of Teachers and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, according to the New York Times.