WASHINGTON, Feb. 6, 2014 – The Senate approved the nomination today, with a 96-0 vote, of Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., to serve as U.S. ambassador to China.
Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., is largely expected to become the committee’s new chairman, and will be tasked with overseeing the ongoing battle over legislation dealing with “fast-track” trade promotion authority (TPA).
The bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities Act (S. 1900, H.R. 3830), offered in January by Baucus and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., would put trade deals before Congress on a straight up-or-down vote without amendments. Baucus and supporters have said the bill would give lawmakers greater oversight over trade negotiations.
TPA approval is seen as crucial to wrapping up the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks with 11 Pacific Rim nations, as well as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with the 28-member European Union. The treaties would create the world’s biggest free-trade zones.
Baucus, who voted “present” on the Senate floor, will replace Gary Locke, the first Chinese-American to serve as ambassador to China.
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