Commerce Secretary Gary Locke resigns to become ambassador to China

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Locke also oversaw a 2010 census that had been expected to come in late and vastly over-budget because of technology troubles during the Bush administration. It was completed on time and $1.9 billion under budget.

Acting deputy secretary Rebecca Blank will serve as acting Commerce Secretary pending Senate confirmation of Locke's replacement, John Bryson. Blank has been serving as acting deputy secretary since November.

She previously served as Locke's principal economic adviser in her role as Under Secretary for Economic Affairs and head of the Economics and Statistics Administration.