Raimondo Commerce nomination clears committee hurdle

By Steve Klamkin WPRO News

Governor Gina Raimondo’s nomination to become President Joe Biden’s Commerce Secretary won the approval of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, Wednesday on a 21-3 vote.

Her nomination goes to the full Senate, where a date has not been set for a vote.

The vote came after her confirmation hearing January 26, in which Republican members raised concerns about the government’s treatment of Chinese telecommunications equipment maker Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd.

Concerned about compromising U.S. national security, former President Donald Trump’s administration imposed on ban on government purchases and other operations by the Chinese firm, which is set to expire in May.

“I do remain concerned about the Governor’s reluctance to state unequivocally that she intends to keep Huawei on the department’s entities list,” said Committee Chairman Senator Roger Wicker, (R-Mississippi).

“Keeping Huawei on this list is important for the security of our networks, and I urge the Governor and the administration to make its position clear,” Wicker said.

“I think it’s very important that we have somebody at the Department of Commerce who is from the private sector,” said the committee’s Ranking Member, Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Washington).

“And, we’re blessed by Governor Raimondo’s being both in the public sector and the private sector. And I think that will give her a great deal of insights to the many challenges facing our economy, the competitiveness of businesses and the challenges of the information age,” Cantwell said.

The vote came hours before Gov. Raimondo is scheduled to deliver her State of the State address in a virtual setting due to concerns about the coronavirus pandemic, at 7:00 P.M.