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Biden's Commerce Nominee Confirmed Despite GOP Concerns That She'll Bend the Knee to China

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The Senate voted Tuesday to confirm Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo as President Joe Biden’s commerce secretary.

The vote was 84-15.

Raimondo, 49, is serving her second term as Rhode Island governor. 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 centered around concerns that she would not be forceful enough in confronting the Chinese government’s efforts to gain an economic and technological edge through espionage.

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Sen. Ted Cruz 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 Cruz 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.”

Do you support Raimondo's confirmation?

Raimondo emphasized during her hearing the need to combat climate change. She noted that as governor she oversaw construction of the nation’s first offshore wind farm.

The Commerce Department comprises a dozen bureaus and agencies, including the National Weather Service, the U.S. Census Bureau and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Raimondo will oversee more than 40,000 employees.


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