Froman easily confirmed by Senate to take helm of trade office

"He’s trusted and well-respected by our partners around the world, and for the last several years, he’s been a driving force behind our international economic agenda. In his new position, Mike will stay focused on our primary economic goals — promoting growth, creating jobs and strengthening the middle class."

The United States also is involved in continuing talks on an Asia-Pacific deal, a source of some consternation ahead of the vote. 

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenDem senators demand Trump explain ties to Koch brothers 'Fearless Girl' statue to be moved away from Wall Street bull Sanders, Warren, O’Rourke inspire patriotic small donor waves MORE (D-Mass.) opposed the nomination because of Froman's refusal to publicly release the negotiated text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a deal being worked up by 12 nations, which could be completed later this year. 

Ahead of the vote, Warren said there was a "point of principle at stake" and that the United States "should not be moving forward on trade agreements without making more information public."

She said that the trade office needs a new direction that "prioritizes transparency and public debate."

ADVERTISEMENT
Warren was joined in her opposition by Sens. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinPompeo lacks votes for positive vote on panel Democrats mull audacious play to block Pompeo Heitkamp becomes first Dem to back Pompeo for secretary of State MORE (D-W.Va.), Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersSanders ally pushes Dems on cutting superdelegates Sanders: ‘Trump's agenda is dead’ if Democrats win back majority Hannity snaps back at 'Crybaby' Todd: 'Only conservatives have to disclose relationships?' MORE (I-Vt.) and Carl LevinCarl Milton LevinSen. Gillibrand, eyeing 2020 bid, rankles some Democrats The Hill's 12:30 Report Congress needs bipartisanship to fully investigate Russian influence MORE (D-Mich.). 

Sen. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenTrump struggles to get new IRS team in place CIA declassifies memo on nominee's handling of interrogation tapes Dem senators demand Trump explain ties to Koch brothers MORE (D-Ore.), who votedf or Froman, said Warren has legitimate concerns, which are similar to those he has raised. 

"I continue to share the concerns that Sen. Warren and others express about the lack of adequate transparency in U.S. trade negotiations,"" he said. "Mr. Froman has committed to work with me to address these concerns and I look forward to working with him, Senator Warren and others to accomplish this important objective."

The top Democrat and Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, which unanimously approved his nomination to the Cabinet post last week, urged strong support for Froman's nomination. 

"It's rare that I speak so highly of somebody," said Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max BaucusMax Sieben BaucusGreen Party puts Dem seat at risk in Montana Business groups worried about Trump's China tariffs plan Farmers hit Trump on trade in new ad MORE (D-Mont.). 

"He's very smart, he's very tough and he's the right person for the job," he said. 

Senators took Baucus up on his call for a big vote "so the world knows he has our strong support."

Baucus said he was unaware of Warren's concerns until she mentioned them on the floor on Wednesday. 

Warren sent a letter last week asking Froman to provide more details to the public and to lawmakers about the TPP negotiations. 

But she said he gave her an across-the-board 'no' for her requests. 

Earlier in the day, she vowed to vote 'no' but said she would not block the nomination. 

Finance panel ranking member Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchTrump struggles to get new IRS team in place Romney forced into GOP primary for Utah Senate nomination Romney won't commit yet to supporting Trump in 2020 MORE (R-Utah) said he has "seen a lot of people come and go and he has every confidence this man will be an excellent leader."

"This man is competent, he's highly qualified, he doesn't share my philosophy particularly, but I think he does with regard to this position," he said. 

He noted that Froman backs trade promotion authority, which Hatch and Baucus, and plenty of other lawmakers, have been pressing the White House to request for months. 

Froman made it clear at his confirmation hearing earlier this month that the president would pursue the issue and would soon begin in-depth discussions with Congress. 

This story was updated at 6:35 p.m. and 7:25 p.m.