July 13,2021

Crapo Statement at Nominations Markup

Washington, D.C.--U.S. Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, delivered the following remarks at an executive session to vote on nominations for Deputy U.S. Trade Representatives (USTR) and the Assistant Secretary for Legislation at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).  

The text of Ranking Member Crapo’s remarks, as prepared, is below.  

“Thank you Mr. Chairman. “We are here to vote on the nominations of Ms. Bianchi and Mr. White as Deputy U.S. Trade Representatives, and on the nomination of Dr. Egorin as HHS Assistant Secretary for Legislation. 

“I intend to support all three nominees. 

“However, today’s vote also highlights the Administration has yet to nominate anyone to fill a number of vacancies critical to ensuring the United States has an effective trade policy.   

“With respect to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, those positions include the Chief IP Negotiator, the Chief Agricultural Negotiator and the U.S. Ambassador to the World Trade Organization.  

“To press forward toward a successful economic recovery, we need now—more than ever—to tear down barriers between our businesses, farmers and workers, and the billions of customers beyond our borders.   

“With respect to my votes for the trade nominees, each stressed they intend to work closely with Congress, and Mr. White further assured us at his confirmation hearing that he would do so ‘promptly.’  I appreciate that. 

“But the Administration’s continuing efforts to support a waiver for the WTO TRIPS Agreement fail in regard to any consultation with Congress, prompt or otherwise.  

“The decision to go it alone two months ago raises a number of significant concerns, including whether the Administration will even try to prevent extending any potential waiver to China and Russia.   

“We still do not know, and it is contrary to Ambassador Tai’s own statement to this Committee in May, whether she would consult before and after each round of negotiations. 

“Ms. Bianchi and Mr. White, I expect that if confirmed, you will relay to your Administration colleagues they need to do better, especially when the Constitution provides that Congress is not just a potential partner when it comes to its own trade agreements--it is the boss. 

“Dr. Egorin has expressed a clear understanding of the importance of a strong working relationship with Congress.   

“As a veteran staffer of the House Ways and Means Committee, Dr. Egorin garnered the support and recommendation of both Chair Neal and Ranking Member Brady, as well as their respective staffs. 

“I appreciated Dr. Egorin’s commitment in the hearing and in answers to QFRs to being responsive and transparent, and I intend to support her nomination. 

“Mr. Chairman, thank you for holding this markup today.”