Trade Nominees Advance, New Chief Economic Advisor Named
President Obama’s second-term trade and economic policy team continued to take shape this week as two nominees advanced toward Senate confirmation and a top advisor was named.
The Senate Finance Committee voted June 11 to approve the nomination of Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economic Affairs Michael Froman as U.S. trade representative. Froman will face a full trade agenda if confirmed, including working to conclude the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations by the end of this year, launching talks on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the European Union in July, and efforts to wrap up multilateral deals on services, information technology products and trade facilitation.
A day earlier the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee approved the nomination of Chicago businesswoman Penny Pritzker as commerce secretary. Pritzker will oversee a department that includes the International Trade Administration, which handles issues ranging from trade missions to textile policy to antidumping and countervailing duties, and the Bureau of Industry and Security, which is engaged in an effort to overhaul U.S. export controls.
Both Froman and Pritzker must still be confirmed by the full Senate, but there has been no indication yet when that might happen.
Also on June 10, President Obama nominated Jason Furman to serve as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers. The president called Furman “one of the most brilliant economic minds of his generation” and said that as a member of the administration he has “worked tirelessly on just about every major economic challenge of the past four and a half years.”