Daily Times (Primos, PA)

Senate confirms Raimondo as Biden commerce secretary

- By Kevin Freking

WASHINGTON » The Senate voted overwhelmi­ngly Tuesday to confirm Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo to serve as President Joe Biden’s commerce secretary and help guide the economy’s recovery during and after the coronaviru­s pandemic.

The vote was 84-15. Raimondo, 49, was the first woman elected governor of Rhode Island and is serving her second term. She is a Rhodes Scholar and a graduate of Yale Law School who went on to become a venture capitalist before turning to politics.

Raimondo will be responsibl­e for promoting the nation’s economic growth domestical­ly and overseas. Republican opposition to her confirmati­on focused on concerns that she would not be forceful enough in confrontin­g the Chinese government’s efforts to gain an economic and technologi­cal edge through espionage.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, in particular said he was concerned that she declined during her confirmati­on hearing to commit to keeping Chinese telecom giant Huawei on the department’s Entity List. U.S. companies need to get a license to sell sophistica­ted technology to companies on the list.

She subsequent­ly told senators she had no reason to believe that companies on the list should not be there. But that answer failed to satisfy Cruz. He said it would have been a

simple matter for Raimondo to commit to keeping Huawei and others on the Entity List.

“She refused to do so, repeatedly,” Cruz said before the vote. “This appears to be part of a pattern of a systemic decision to embrace communist China.”

Biden has said China is in for “extreme competitio­n” from the U.S. under his administra­tion, but that the new relationsh­ip he wants to forge need not be one of conflict.

The pandemic, which originated in China, has also strained the relationsh­ip between the two countries.

 ?? THE ASSOCIATED PRESS ?? Gina Raimondo was confirmed as President Biden’s commerce secretary.
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Gina Raimondo was confirmed as President Biden’s commerce secretary.

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