Senate committee okays Chao to lead DOT

Senate committee okays Chao to lead DOT

The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation on Tuesday approved President Trump’s nomination of Elaine Chao to be Secretary of Transportation.

The nomination, along with that of Wilbur Ross to be Secretary of Commerce and a package of 16 bills, was approved by voice vote.

In a Jan. 10 hearing on Chao’s nomination, Sen. John Thune (R.-SD) chairman of the committee, called her the “ideal candidate” to lead the DOT. For her part, Chao emphasized the importance of transportation infrastructure to the U.S. economy and spoke several times of the need to “unleash the potential for private investment” to help fund Trump’s trillion-dollar construction program.

Chao led the Labor Department under George W. Bush and she has held other high-level political appointments. She’s married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R.-KY).

“We hit the ground running at our first markup of the 115th Congress,” Thune said following Tuesday’s executive session. “With this bipartisan endorsement, the Senate should now move forward on confirming both Secretary Chao and Mr. Ross to President Trump’s cabinet.”

Chao’s nomination is scheduled for debate and vote by the full Senate on Jan. 31.

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