Senate Finance panel OKs Tai as top U.S. trade negotiator

The Senate Finance Committee easily approved President Joe Biden s pick to be America’s top trade negotiator.

The panel on Wednesday confirmed Katherine Tai to be U.S. trade representative on a voice vote. Her nomination which has received strong bipartisan support, will now go to the full Senate for approval.

Tai has promised to make sure that U.S. trade policy benefits America’s workers, not just corporations, and to work more closely with U.S. allies to counter an increasingly assertive China.

Fluent in Mandarin, Tai spent several years as the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative’s head of China enforcement.

She last worked as the top trade staffer on the House Ways and Means Committee, where she handled negotiations with the Trump administration over a revamped North American trade deal. Under pressure from congressional Democrats, Trump’s trade team agreed to strengthen the pact to make it easier for Mexican workers to form independent unions and demand better pay and benefits — decreasing the incentives for U.S. firms to move south of the border to take advantage of cheap and compliant labor.

She and Biden have said little about how they will handle specific trade issues such as whether to keep President Donald Trump’s import taxes on foreign steel and aluminum and on $360 billion worth of Chinese products.

Senator Ted Cruz leads Republican calls to fill Supreme Court vacancy before election

Senator Ted Cruz has led Republican calls for Donald Trump to fill Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Supreme Court seat before election day.

Sen Cruz told Fox News he believed that it was “critical” that the Republican-controlled Senate moved quickly to replace Ginsburg before the US votes on 3 November.

“I believe that the president should next week nominate a successor to the court, and I think it is critical that the Senate takes up and confirms that successor before Election day,” said Mr Cruz.

“There is going to be enormous pressure form the media and enormous pressure from Democrats to delay filling this vacancy, but this nomination is why Donald Trump was elected.

“This confirmation is why the voters voted for a Republican majority in the Senate.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already vowed that whomever Mr Trump nominates will get a vote on the Senate floor.

Earlier this week Mr Cruz told supporters that he had no interest in serving on the Supreme Court, despite the president naming him to a list of potential nominees.

Mr Cruz, the former Solicitor General of Texas, and has been mentioned before for the position.

He has also written a book about the Supreme Court, which is due out on 6 October.

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