US Senate sets Raimondo confirmation hearing for Jan. 26

Politics - Government

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Gov. Gina Raimondo’s confirmation hearing to be the new U.S. commerce secretary has been scheduled for later this month, putting her on a path to potentially leave for Washington within weeks.

The U.S. Senate Commerce Committee has scheduled a hearing on Raimondo’s nomination for Jan. 26 at 10 a.m. The committee meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and has already set a confirmation hearing this coming Thursday for Pete Buttigieg, the nominee for transportation secretary.

President-elect Joe Biden nominated Raimondo to lead the Commerce Department earlier this month; her portfolio will include topics ranging from international tariffs to fisheries and the U.S. Census. She is the first Rhode Island politician named to a presidential cabinet since the Truman administration.

The hearing is only one of multiple steps that need to happen before Raimondo resigns as governor and goes to Washington. At some point after the hearing, the Commerce Committee would then need to vote on whether to send her nomination to the floor. And if that happens, the full Senate would then need to schedule and vote on her nomination.

The Commerce Committee will hold the hearing in the Russell Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill, with limited seating due to the pandemic. Democrats are expected to be in control of the Senate by then, once three new senators and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris are sworn in Wednesday.

If Raimondo is confirmed for the cabinet, Lt. Gov. Dan McKee will succeed her as governor. McKee has said he expects the transition to be complete by roughly mid-February, though others have said it could take longer, particularly with the Senate now facing an unexpected impeachment trial.

Raimondo’s office has already announced she will deliver a virtual State of the State speech on Feb. 3, which will also serve as her farewell address to Rhode Island if she wins confirmation.

Ted Nesi (tnesi@wpri.com) is a Target 12 investigative reporter and 12 News politics/business editor. He co-hosts Newsmakers and writes Nesi’s Notes on Saturdays. Connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram

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