A Senate panel on Wednesday easily approved the nomination of Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) to be the Biden administrations Secretary of Commerce.
Raimondo’s nomination vote in the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee passed on a 21 to 3 vote. The nomination now heads to the full Senate for consideration.
There are concerns, at least among some Republicans, that Raimondo hasn’t been clear about maintaining a Trump administration prohibition on U.S. companies doing business with Chinese telecommunications company Huawei. The U.S. and allied intelligence communities have warned that Huawei and other Chinese information technology companies have backdoors in their products that allow the Chinese government access into their customers’ networks.
Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), the ranking member on the panel, voted in favor of the nomination said he has concerns about Raimondo’s “reluctance to state unequivocally that she intends to keep Huawei on the department’s entity list. Keeping Huawei on this list is important for the security of our networks and I urge the governor and the administration to make its position clear.”
Following Raimondo’s confirmation hearing before the panel last week, Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said the Biden administration’s position is that Huawei’s equipment “is a threat to the security of the U.S. and our allies. We’ll ensure that the American telecommunications network do not use equipment from untrusted vendors, and we’ll work with allies to secure their telecommunications networks and make investments to expand the production of telecommunications equipment by trusted U.S. and allied companies.”