Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch of Utah is hopeful his committee can advance the nomination of Robert Lighthizer, President Donald Trump’s nominee for U.S. Trade Representative, when the Senate returns from its two-week Easter recess. Hatch attempted a committee vote Thursday, but was forced to delay the vote after just one Democrat, Oregon’s Ron Wyden, showed to the committee meeting. Democrats on the committee are concerned that Lighthizer, who Reuters calls a veteran trade lawyer and Reagan-era Deputy Trade Representative, needs a congressional waiver from a 1995 law prohibiting USTR candidates from working on behalf of foreign governments. Wyden said Democrats’ concerns needed to be addressed, but he was “confident that we can find a way to have a positive, strongly bipartisan markup of Mr. Lighthizer.” The waiver could be included in a catch-all spending bill Congress needs to pass to avoid a government shutdown when the Senate returns April 24th. Committee Chairman Hatch said he was hopeful the committee could then send the nomination to the full Senate.
From the National Association of Farm Broadcasting news service.