Businessman Wilbur Ross was approved by the U.S. Senate yesterday to become Secretary of Commerce by a vote of 72-27, with 20 Democrats and Sen. Angus King (I-Maine), joining 51 Republicans to vote “aye.” Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., did not vote due to his ongoing recovery from back surgery.
The Senate also voted 67-31 to move forward on the nomination of Rep. Ryan Zinke, (R-Mont.), to lead the Interior Department. A final vote on Zinke’s confirmation is expected Wednesday.
Thomas J. Gibson, president and CEO of the American Iron and Steel Institute, reacted to the confirmation.
“Wilbur Ross’ clear focus on the challenges that the steel industry is facing, and his intent to use all of the tools at his disposal to ensure a level playing field, is great news for the domestic steel industry,” Gibson said. “He has keen knowledge about the global overcapacity in steel — fueled by foreign government subsidies and other trade-distorting policies and repeated surges in unfairly traded imports. His experience as a businessman involved with a number of manufacturing industries facing similar unfair import competition gives him the first-hand knowledge of the critical issues impacting steel and other industries. He will be an exceptional Secretary of Commerce and we look forward to working with him.”