A Senate panel unanimously approved the nomination of Penny Pritzker for U.S. Secretary of Commerce. The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee also unanimously voted to approve Anthony Foxx, mayor of Charlotte, for Transportation Secretary. Foxx is set to take the place of Ray LaHood, a former congressman from Peoria.
“Mayor Foxx and Ms. Pritzker are two excellent nominees for key administration posts,” said the committee's chair U.S. Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.) in a statement. “There has been strong bipartisan support for these nominees, and it was evident again today when they were both voted unanimously out of the Commerce Committee. I urge my colleagues to act quickly now to schedule votes on their nominations.”
Pritzker's nomination has seen push back from the Unite Here labor union and some workers of the Hyatt Hotels, which her family owns. U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) also questioned Pritzker's finances, noting potential “offshore tax avoidance activities.” As a result of Grassley's concerns, Pritzker has announced plans to move all of her finances in overseas trusts back to the United States. The Hyatt heiress is reportedly worth some $1.85 billion.
Pritzker's nomination could be full approved by the Senate by the end of June.