Finance Committee to weigh Lighthizer’s confirmation on March 14

The Senate Finance Committee will hold a confirmation hearing for Robert Lighthizer, President Trump’s pick for U.S. Trade Representative, on March 14.

Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) announced the hearing – set for 10:00 a.m. in the Dirksen Senate Office Building – after weeks of speculation and debate over whether Lighthizer will need a congressional waiver to serve as USTR.

Lighthizer’s work as a trade attorney on behalf of foreign governments means that waiver is needed, and Democrats have tried to tie their support for the waiver to a miners’ rights bill.

Hatch put the blame on Democrats for the delay in meeting to evaluate Lighthizer’s nomination.

“In order for Congress to have a strong say in the Trump Administration’s trade policy agenda, we need to confirm the USTR as soon as possible,” Hatch said in a statement. “After unprecedented delays and unrealistic and unrelated demands that have hindered the advancement of Mr. Lighthizer’s nomination, it is past time to allow the Committee to examine the nominee’s qualifications to lead USTR.”

“I look forward to hosting Mr. Lighthizer and hearing his views on trade policy, and specifically, how he plans to protect American intellectual property rights abroad and ensure U.S. global competiveness in the 21st century,” Hatch concluded.

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