Baucus

Senate confirms Baucus as U.S. ambassador to China

2014-02-06T19:30:00Z 2014-10-03T14:29:08Z Senate confirms Baucus as U.S. ambassador to ChinaThe Associated Press The Associated Press
February 06, 2014 7:30 pm  • 

WASHINGTON – The Senate easily confirmed longtime Sen. Max Baucus on Thursday to become ambassador to China, handing the job to a lawmaker well-versed in U.S. trade policy but with little expertise about military and other issues that have raised tensions with Beijing.

Senators gave final approval to the nomination of the moderate Baucus 96-0. Trim and youthful looking for his 72 years, the moderate Democrat accepted colleagues’ congratulations before and during the roll call and voted “present” for his own nomination.

Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Baucus has worked with Republicans during his 35 years in the Senate on issues ranging from taxes to health care reform – an independent streak that has vexed Democratic colleagues.

Baucus supported GOP President George W. Bush’s sweeping 2001 tax cuts and his 2003 creation of Medicare prescription drug benefits, despite opposition by most Democrats.

He also helped write President Barack Obama’s 2010 health care overhaul. Congress approved that measure solely with Democratic votes after Baucus spent months trying to craft a bipartisan version with Republicans.

“I’m proud to stand up for it, because it is helping millions of Americans,” Baucus said in farewell remarks on the Senate floor after Thursday’s vote, defending a law that Republicans are making a top issue this election year.

***

Most recently, he’d been working with Republicans to craft bills revamping the income tax system and streamlining congressional votes on trade treaties Obama is seeking with Asia and Europe.

“His passion is well-known to all of us, his decades of experience here in Congress. He’s an excellent choice that President Obama made to represent America’s interests in China,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, a longtime Finance panel colleague, lauded the Montanan for “his willingness to put partisan differences aside for the greater good of all.”

In 2001, Baucus championed China’s inclusion in the World Trade Organization, which has helped Beijing conduct business with other countries. He has sponsored legislation – not enacted – punishing China for undervaluing its currency and has criticized Beijing for blocking U.S. imports of beef, a big business in his rural state.

Baucus has visited China at least eight times and hosted trade delegations from that country.

Baucus had already announced that he would not seek re-election this fall when Obama tapped him last December for the ambassadorship.

Until then, Baucus’ Senate seat had seemed likely to go Republican in November’s congressional elections. That would bolster GOP chances of gaining the six seats needed to capture control of the chamber.

But with Baucus’ early departure, Democratic Montana Gov. Steve Bullock will name a temporary replacement, perhaps Democratic Lt. Gov. John Walsh, who is seeking the seat. That could give an appointee time to build a Senate record and gain visibility to defend the seat against the expected GOP candidate, Rep. Steve Daines.

***

Baucus’ confirmation comes as China has emerged as a leading global economic and military power, at times causing strains between Beijing and Washington and its allies in the region.

China’s economy is second in size only to that of the United States. The U.S. trade deficit with China hit $318 billion last year, far larger than it is with any other country, and the $1.3 trillion in Treasury securities China owns make it the largest foreign holder of U.S. debt.

Ties have also frayed as the U.S. has accused China of cybertheft of American intellectual property and of holding down the value of its currency to give a price advantage to its companies trading overseas.

U.S. officials have clashed with China over its human rights record, accusing it of mistreating political dissidents and many minority groups. On Thursday, Obama said at the annual National Prayer Breakfast that he has told leaders in Beijing that “realizing China’s potential rests on upholding universal rights.”

Beijing has been modernizing its military forces and engaging in territorial disputes in the seas off East Asia with Japan, South Korea and the Philippines.

Baucus will replace Gary Locke, the former Commerce secretary and first Chinese-American to serve as U.S. ambassador to China.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(11) Comments

  1. Run - A- Mook
    Report Abuse
    Run - A- Mook - February 08, 2014 5:33 pm
    @Number
    If you thing that is awful try this

    There was a young girl from Madras
    Who had a most beautiful ars
    Not rounded and pink
    As you probably think
    But Grey with long ears, and ate grass

    Anonymous
  2. Run - A- Mook
    Report Abuse
    Run - A- Mook - February 08, 2014 3:13 pm
    If Kipling was a 10.
    The one above 8.2
  3. NumberStreetsHustlah'
    Report Abuse
    NumberStreetsHustlah' - February 08, 2014 11:59 am
    that is awful, the worst poem ever, but I smell what youre steppin' in my brother. Amazingly, Kipling wrote a poem about the Obama presidency in 1922. its called "a servant when he reighneth", and I encourage you to check it out.
    Of course, Max hasn't any notion regarding the differences between China's 56 different ethnic groups, or the 23 provinces, or anything remotely tied to military affairs...he is just another Obamaphile who is being paid off for his efforts to promote an illegal agenda.
    Remember what he said up in Troy about the legislation he supposedly wrote? He said he didn't read it... For our sake, I hope he takes better care when he begins work on treaties with the communist Chinese!
    peace out, brothahs!
  4. independent
    Report Abuse
    independent - February 07, 2014 1:49 pm
    No Max will be remembered for cramming ObamaCare down our throats, voting for two Supreme Court Justices that don't believe in the 2nd Amendment and introducing a bill giving Obama fast tract authority on Trade Treaties that violate our Constitution and puts us under UN oversight is absolutely ridiculous.
    Newsflash - Baucus is NOT a moderate.
  5. Pistol
    Report Abuse
    Pistol - February 07, 2014 9:03 am
    Max will always be remembered by me for being a moderate last two years of the reelection cycle.
  6. Buldog
    Report Abuse
    Buldog - February 07, 2014 7:33 am
    And the three stooges below have spoken, whoops, guess there are 5.
  7. Stan Reck
    Report Abuse
    Stan Reck - February 07, 2014 6:00 am
    somewhere in Montana a village has lost its idiot.
  8. Miss Perfect
    Report Abuse
    Miss Perfect - February 07, 2014 1:28 am
    You know.....even though he doesn't speak a word of mandarin ......Trainwreck Max does look a little "Foreign" with those bolted on eyelids - haha.

    Hey Max.......doe the world a favor and fix that terrible Chinese healthcare system.......you know what to do! (shhhh....best weapon we have against red China!!!)
  9. PelosiGalore
    Report Abuse
    PelosiGalore - February 07, 2014 1:14 am
    Another 1 Percenter getting his political and financial payoff after a long career of being bought and paid for by the powers that be. The irony is, that I thought liberals were against 1 Percenters and ruling classes. The Occupy Wallstreet crowd thinks that corparations have too much control over our lives. The Tea Party Crowd thinks that Government has too much control over our lives. They are both rights, and when they figure it our and find a way to come together we will get our country back.
  10. The Truth
    Report Abuse
    The Truth - February 06, 2014 7:22 pm
    Further evidence the Senate knows not, cares not, and has no cld. The joke lives on.
  11. Run - A- Mook
    Report Abuse
    Run - A- Mook - February 06, 2014 2:16 pm
    My tribute to Ambassador Baucus.

    There was a puzzlewit
    upon a chair he did sit
    with a candle not lit
    in the dark, he was bit
    by a small unseen nit
    upon his lip it did fit

    He cried, that's the limit
    this is not legit
    his eyes were closely knit
    he grabbed his baseball mitt
    and has luck would have it
    the little bug had split

    He said, I will have a treat
    for that little bug I will eat
    so in the middle of the heat
    he went out in the street
    the nit bit him in repeat
    and he ended up in defeat

    With a lip that does not fit
    in the dark, he has been bit
    by a small unseen nit
    from the nearby thicket
    upon a chair he does sit
    by a candle still unlit
    he vow's to never admit
    he's maybe a puzzlewit.

    By Run-A-Mook
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