WASHINGTON (AP) – The Senate on Tuesday overwhelmingly voted in favor of Ina Raimondo, the governor of Rhode Island, who will serve as Biden’s trade secretary to help rebuild the economy during and after the coronavirus epidemic.
Raymondo, 49, was the first woman to be elected governor of Rhode Island and is serving a second term. He is a Rhodes Scholar, a graduate of Yale Law School, who continued to become a venture capitalist before entering politics.
Raymondo will be responsible for promoting the nation’s economic growth at home and abroad. To his assertion, the Republican opposition focused on fears that he would not have enough power to counter the Chinese government’s efforts to gain economic and technological advantage through espionage.
In particular, R-Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said he was concerned that during his confirmation hearing, he had waived his obligation to keep Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei on the list. U.S. companies must obtain a license to sell listed technologies to listed companies.
He then told the senators that he had no reason to believe that the companies on the list should not be there. But that answer did not satisfy Cruz. He said it would be a simple task for Raimondo to oblige Huawei to keep other people on the list.
“He kept refusing to do that,” Cruz said before the vote. “This seems to be part of the example of a systemic decision to accept communist China.”
Biden noted that China aspires to “extreme competition” during the US administration, but that the new relationship he wants to establish should not be in conflict.
The COVID-19 epidemic, which originated in China, has also strained relations with the two countries. Members of both US political parties are working to highlight any adjustments they see on the other side in China.
Most of Raymondo’s work will focus on regional economic issues. Coastal lawmakers want to help protect the valuable fish industry. Rural lawmakers want to invest more in broadband. During his confirmation hearings, he reaffirmed his interest in working with them on these issues and stressed the need to combat climate change. As governor, he said he oversees the construction of the nation’s first offshore wind farm.
“We are looking for someone who can come in and help, with the experience of the private sector, really advance the agenda of this administration. So for me, the experience of Governor Raymondo in the private sector really means a lot, “said Senator Maria Cantwell, a Democratic chair of the Science and Transportation Committee. “He knows how to invest in new technologies, things that will help us develop future jobs, he knows how to adapt the workforce to the opportunities of that job.”
The Department of Commerce consists of dozens of bureaux agencies, including the National Weather Service, the U.S. Census Bureau, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Raimondo was to oversee the work of more than 40,000 employees.