July 23,2009

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Dan Virkstis, (202) 224-4515

Baucus Leads Action On Burma Sanctions

Finance executive session includes move on key posts at Treasury, USTR and HHS

Washington, DC – The Senate Finance Committee today approved by voice vote S.J. Res. 17, a measure reauthorizing and renewing import restrictions contained in the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act of 2003. The resolution renews for one year the existing import ban on the importation of Burmese products into the United States, and authorizes the Congress to renew the import ban annually through 2012.

Since 1988, Burma has been ruled by an autocratic military regime known as the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC). The 2008 State Department Country Report on Human Rights Practices notes that the SPDC maintains its power by suppressing opposition groups and severely limiting the personal freedom of the Burmese people. The State Department also reports that the SPDC has restricted freedom of speech and press, engaged in gross human rights violations including the conscription of child soldiers, and does not maintain an independent judiciary.

“As long as the Burmese junta continues to engage in gross human rights violations and govern its people with an iron fist, the United States should continue to stand in support of human rights, and on behalf of the Burmese people,” Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) said. “These international trade sanctions, together with the sanctions imposed by several of our trading partners, put necessary pressure on the junta so they, in turn, stop the mistreatment of their own people.”

The Senate Finance Committee has jurisdiction over U.S. international trade.

During today’s executive session the Finance Committee also favorably reported, by voice vote, the nominations of Miriam Sapiro, to be Deputy U.S. Trade Representative, with the rank of Ambassador; Dan Tangherlini, to be Assistant Secretary of Treasury for Management and Chief Financial Officer, Department of Treasury; Carmen Nazario, to be Assistant Secretary of Health for Family Support, Department of Health and Human Services; William Wilkins, to be Chief Counsel for the Internal Revenue Service and an Assistant General Counsel for the Department of Treasury; Kim Wallace, to be Deputy Under Secretary for Legislative Affairs, U.S. Department of Treasury; George Madison, to be General Counsel, U.S. Department of Treasury; and Rosa Rios, to be Treasurer of the United States.

Senator Baucus said, “Today we took another important step toward continuing to put in place solid leadership at Treasury, USTR and HHS. The positions we moved to fill are essential to our economic recovery, to rock-solid taxpayer protection, to the well-being of American families and to efforts to bring American products to markets throughout the world. I am confident each of these nominees will get to work on the critical tasks immediately, and I urge my Senate colleagues to confirm these nominees at the earliest opportunity.”