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Public Statements

Hearing of the Senate Finance Committee - Nominations

Interview

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

SEN. STABENOW: Well, thank you very much, and welcome to you and your family. We now turn to Ms. Pearson and certainly we welcome any family that you would like to introduce as well.

MS. PEARSON: Thank you very much, ma'am. I would like to introduce before I begin my husband, Adam Horbath (ph), who has been unfailing in his love and support and very excited that we have our daughter with us, who is 20 days old today.

SEN. STABENOW: Oh, my goodness.

MS. PEARSON: Her name is Julia James.

SEN. STABENOW: Well, she's getting --

MS. PEARSON: (Off mike.)

SEN. STABENOW: She is really getting her first taste of government here --

MS. PEARSON: Yes.

SEN. STABENOW: -- at a very early age, so -- well, welcome. We welcome both of you -- (Applause.)

MS. PEARSON: Public service is something I'm proud of in my family, and I think it's exemplified by other members of my family that are here. My father, Wiley Pearson, is a retired U.S. Marine. He's also a former staffer for Senator Mikulski. And my aunt, Mary Francis Pearson, who used to be a tax policy staffer on the Finance Committee and at the IRS, and also my uncle, Joe Hal. (ph) So I thank them for coming (here today ?).

SEN. STABENOW: Welcome. Stand and be recognized. Welcome. (applause) Thank you.

MS. PEARSON: Thank you for scheduling this hearing during such a busy time, and before beginning I would like to thank President Bush for nominating me, and it has been an honor to serve in his Administration. I'd also like to acknowledge Secretary Levitt and thank him for his support. It's a privilege to be here today before this committee.

My first internships and job after college were at the Senate Finance Committee, and my four years working for Senators Packwood and Roth were very important to shaping my professional career. In these rooms I developed a passion for public service, an intense interest in healthcare, an appreciation for the media, and a respect for the important role this committee plays in our government.

It was also (at the ?) Finance Committee that I saw how healthcare policy touches the lives of every American every day. During my tenure we worked on vital healthcare legislation concerning HIPAA, Medicare and Medicaid, welfare reform and SCHIP authorization. That experience led me to develop a special interest in healthcare and led me to be a spokesperson for American Hospital Association and later for HHS.

As the chairman mentioned, at HHS the assistant secretary for Public Affairs has the responsibility of serving as the primary advisor on public affairs matters and providing centralized leadership across the Department. My previous experience has clearly shown that the Administration and Congress have an important partnership. I understand that a critical function of this office is to promote the close collaboration on the communications front. And if confirmed, I am committed to consulting with this committee and working together in a bipartisan manner to achieve our mutual goal of advancing healthcare to the people we serve.

Through my various positions I've developed a reputation as a person who is collaborative, responsive, and innovative in working with staff and media. If confirmed, I will bring to this position an important perspective as a person who has acted as a spokesperson on health policy from a variety of angles, including legislative, federal and association. I have a deep understanding of the vital role each of these plays in the development of health policy and how critical it is to work together across the spectrum.

Becoming a mother recently has recommitted me to the important work underway in healthcare, especially at HHS. By bringing more attention to critical, new information, stressing steps every American can take to prevent chronic disease, and helping to adopt life saving technologies, like electronic health records and a myriad of other things that we do every single day, we are building a healthier America for my daughter and for future generations. And I can think of nothing more rewarding or important to be here at HHS at this time.

Ma'am, it's been an honor to speak to the committee today. We all share a commitment to ensuring the health and wellbeing of the American people.

If confirmed, I pledge to work collaboratively and transparently with you, the chairman, Senator Grassley, and other members of the committee to advance this important mission. Thank you very much, and I look forward to answering your questions.

SEN. STABENOW: Thank you very much. And now we would like to welcome Mr. Christopher Padilla. Welcome, and it was a pleasure of having the opportunity to talk with you about critical trade issues that you know are so important to my state and businesses and workers across America. So we welcome you today and certainly want to have an opportunity to welcome your family as well.

MR. PADILLA: Thank you very much, senator. I'm pleased to introduce the family who are with me here today. My wife, Christina, who may have a little trouble getting up -- she sprained her ankle a couple of weeks ago -- my parents, Arlene and Mario Padilla, and I'd also like to mention my sister, Leslie (sp), who could not be with us today from Colorado.

SEN. STABENOW: Great. Well, welcome. (Applause.)

MR. PADILLA: Senator, as Chairman Baucus said, having the opportunity to serve the United States in public office is a rare and special privilege, and so I was deeply honored that President Bush nominated me to serve as undersecretary of international trade at the Commerce Department. I appreciate very much the President's confidence and that of Secretary Gutierrez. And I hope to have the chance to work for them and with you in advancing our nation's economic interests.

As all of you know quite well, public service is a family undertaking, so I want to thank my family for their unwavering support for my time in government these past five and a half years. I appreciate the committee holding the hearing today. Senator, I appreciate the time you took to meet with me, and a number of other senators have done so.

I look forward to continuing that close collaboration if I'm confirmed, and I understand very well the comments that you made in our meeting and that Chairman Baucus made about the importance of international trade, an issue that touches every American, but touches some more than others, and the special sensitivity we need to have to enforcing our trade agreements and making sure that trade provides a level playing field in basic fairness for American workers and businesses.

I learned early on myself about market access barriers in my very first job as a junior marketing staffer at AT&T more than 20 years ago when I tried unsuccessfully to sell U.S. made telecommunications equipment to government owned phone companies in Europe. With nowhere else to turn, I recall taking a trip to Washington and meeting with the staff of the Commerce Department's International Trade Administration. Almost a year later after a lot of high level commercial diplomacy, some technical and procurement barriers that had affected us were relaxed and exports started flowing.

And that was my first interaction with the people of ITA, but I've been fortunate throughout my career to be a frequent customer of the Commerce Department Services. When I worked at Eastman Kodak Company, I filed anti-dumping cases with the Commerce Department's Import Administration on unfairly traded imports of photo paper from Japan. During my time at Lucent Technologies I worked with the Commerce Department on technical standards that were blocking the sales of U.S. made equipment in South Korea.

And during my time at USTR at the State Department and in my current post as assistant secretary for export administration, I have relied on the many talents that Americans and foreign nationals -- who staff our commercial service posts overseas. The people of ITA are well known for their commitment to American competitiveness, and if I'm confirmed, I look forward to having the opportunity to lead them and to renew some old friendships.

My personal experiences have led me to some core principles that would guide me if confirmed. First, I'm optimistic about America, and I believe strongly that Americans can compete and win in the global economy. All Americans ask for is a fair and reasonable chance to compete. And the Commerce Department helps to provide that by tearing down trade barriers, by opening new markets, by promoting competitiveness, and by relentlessly promoting America's products and services in foreign markets.

Second, senator, I believe that promises made should be promises kept. And that means the Commerce Department must vigorously enforce not only our trade remedy laws, but also compliance with the more than 270 international trade agreements to which the United States is a party. Not only is this important in itself, as you and I discussed, but public support for open markets, speaking face-to-face to people about trade, requires that trade be perceived as fair, and that means that trade laws and agreements must be enforced.

Third, I know from experience that trade policy works best when there is close cooperation between the executive and the Congress. I am very familiar with Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution and the congressional power to (lay ?) and collect duties and impose taxes, as well as to regulate commerce with foreign nations. If confirmed, I'd look forward to working with this committee and the Congress on issues vital to our country.

Finally, senator, I have always believed that an important source of America's strength is our openness, our openness to goods and services, to investment, but also to ideas, and if I might say as the proud son of an immigrant, to people. Our openness and our dynamism are what set us apart as a country and make us nimble and innovative. It allows us to respond to emerging challenges. And I know from experience that when other countries are open too, Americans can compete anywhere in the world.

If confirmed as under secretary, I look forward to working with you to making the case for trade, to expanding opportunity and hope, and keeping America prosperous and strong. Thank you very much.

SEN. STABENOW: Thank you very much. Before proceeding with some other questions, there are three standard questions -- I believe you are aware of those -- that we need to ask for the record to each of you, and so I will ask the first one to Dr. Sasse, and we'll ask each of you to respond. Is there anything you are aware of in your background that might present a conflict of interest with the duties of the office to which you have been nominated? Dr. Sasse?

MR. SASSE: No, senator.

MS. PEARSON: No.

SEN. STABENOW: Pearson? No. Okay, thank you. Secondly, do you know of any reason personal or otherwise that would in any way prevent you from fully and honorably discharging responsibilities of the office to which you have been nominated?

MR. SASSE: No, senator.

MS. PEARSON: No.

MR. PADILLA: Nope.

SEN. STABENOW: Okay. And finally, do you agree without reservation to respond to any reasonable summons to appear and testify before any duly constituted committee on Congress if you are confirmed?

MR. SASSE: Yes, I do.

MS. PEARSON: Yes, senator.

MR. PADILLA: Yes, I do.

SEN. STABENOW: Okay, thank you very much. Let me proceed, and let me also indicate, as I know all of you are aware given the -- as we come to the end of the year and the session, the multiple committees that are operating, that there is great interest on behalf of the committee members, and certainly the records will be made available to them. And so we all share a great interest and concern in the areas which you represent.

Let me first ask of Dr. Sasse -- when we look at how to manage and reorganize large institutions -- and we're looking at very challenging areas, particularly in the areas of health care.

The health care system is clearly in need of dramatic help. I mean, I believe we have a broken system, and we need to look broadly at what we are going to do so that when we are spending twice as much as any other country on health care that, in fact, everyone is covered, and hopefully in doing that we can spend less.

One of the areas that has been focused upon by your secretary and by the President has been health information technology. And as you may be aware, this is something that I have focused on. Senator Snowe and I have legislation. Other colleagues certainly have expressed interest. Can you speak about how as assistant secretary you would use the adoption or recommend the adoption of health IT as we look at how we do a better job in our health care system?

MR. SASSE: Yes, senator. Thank you for the question. You know, $1.9 trillion sector -- I think you're absolutely right, that health information technology is under applied to the sector relative to all other areas of the American economy. And I don't think that anyone doubts that there are potentially hundreds of billions of dollars of cost savings, and as importantly, higher quality care to be delivered to Americans if we would apply health information technology more reasonably in this area.

And I'm aware of your work and interest in the area, and I share -- I would point to the secretary's announcement on Tuesday in Cincinnati of this week of the largest health IT demonstration project in CMS history where CMS is going to be recruiting 1,200 physician practices, 12 regions across the country. Those are not yet determined, but at least 100 practices in each of those regions seeking to find ways that we can share some of those savings with those physicians who are using health IT to deliver higher quality care. I think there's great opportunities in this space, and I think it's an exciting step forward, and we certainly hope that the private sector payers will also begin to move to incentivize EHR-enabled higher quality care delivery.

SEN. STABENOW: Thank you. We are working on the committee looking for opportunities to be able to incentivize the areas of health IT, and certainly in prescribing -- in my home state of Michigan there has been a very substantial effort that has now been reported upon this week -- a two-year effort that has resulted -- you know, through -- in prescribing, not only in saving dollars, but in dramatically reducing the drug interactions that have occurred in the past when a physician was not aware of other drugs or other combinations that someone has been taking, or possible drug interactions, or any number of other issues that relate to quality.

And I would encourage you as you gather information to look at what has been done in Southeastern Michigan. This has been an effort done with our manufacturers led by the automakers and Blue Cross and Blue Shield, but it has shown very clearly in a relatively short amount of time what can be done with just one piece of health IT, which is to electronically be able to move prescriptions from physicians to pharmacies and so on. So I think this is very important.

MR. SASSE: That's what we're looking into, the Michigan example. Thank you.

SEN. STABENOW: Thank you. And Ms. Pearson, I don't know if you want to comment at all. You mentioned health IT in your comments. I don't know to what extent you have been involved in this as well, but certainly would welcome any comments you would have on that.

MS. PEARSON: Thank you, ma'am. One of the important roles that we have in Public Affairs is working with the policy staffers , such as Dr. Sasse and others on communicating the policy, and that's very important. In health IT we are working to create awareness and educate the media about positive examples, such as the one that cite in Michigan and others, of the power of health IT to transform health care.

It's often a very hard topic to talk about from a Public Affairs standpoint because it can be perceived as technical or harder to understand, and so we're really working on finding real life examples such as that to help reporters understand how important this could be in driving down costs, improving quality, and making health care a much better experience for Americans. So that's an important part of our role in Public Affairs, is to work with the policy people to heighten awareness of the power of health IT.

SEN. STABENOW: Thank you. Another important area that certainly is in the news and something this committee has worked very hard on on a bipartisan basis is the children's health care program, which you mentioned before being involved in when it was instituted I believe -- you indicated -- ten years ago.

MS. PEARSON: Yes.

SEN. STABENOW: Now we are reauthorizing and hoping to expand it to $10 million low income children, working families that are not able to receive Medicaid, but as you know, are not earning at a level that would allow them to be able to purchase or have private insurance at their employment. And one of the concerns of the committee, one of the big concerns, has been inaccurate statements that have been made by the Administration about what is, in fact, in the bill. We certainly recognize differences in philosophy, differences in approaches, but there have been outright inaccuracies in terms of whether or not undocumented immigrants are covered under the legislation, which is, in fact, not accurate and clearly spelled out in the legislation as well as income levels and so on.

In your role -- what role do you have in preparing comments or statements in this kind of a situation, because clearly there has been tremendous frustration and disappointment about purely inaccurate statements that have been made by the President and others in the Administration about what the bill, the bipartisan legislation we wrote, actually entails.

MS. PEARSON: Everyone shares a commitment to reauthorizing SCHIP and it's a very important priority for the Department. In Public Affairs my role is not as a policy expert. My role is to work with the policy experts in developing public statements and fact sheets and also talking about the Administration's position. So what we strive to do is work with all of our experts across the Department to develop and communicate those statements out on the Administration's position.

SEN. STABENOW: Just for the record, it is a big concern that there have been many inaccuracies indicated, and I know our chairman and ranking member and leaders on the committee have dedicated themselves to doing whatever we need to do to be able to come forward with a strong bipartisan proposal that, in fact -- and covers more children. And we need to start with accuracy within the legislation so that we can move forward and solve problems and get the job done.

Mr. Padilla, a number of issues that you and I talked about in your office -- and certainly I was pleased to see that you have brought cases before the ITC when you worked at Eastman Kodak. Appreciate your background. As the chairman said, we have many challenges as it relates to trade, and certainly in my state where issues -- when you spoke about fair and reasonable trade policies. There is a broad belief in our state, whether you are a business large or small or a worker, that it hasn't been fair, that we're happy to compete. We want to export our products. But, in fact, we have not as a federal government been standing up for our businesses and making sure the trade laws are enforced accurately.

And we could go down the list from currency manipulation to a $12 billion counterfeit auto parts industry that is bringing in unsafe auto parts. And we certainly now can look to the safety around -- whether it's toothpaste or toys or dog food. I mean, every day there's a new item that's being recalled or it's in the press that relates to a lack of safety standards. So this has had broad implications for all of us.

But when we look at companies that are trying to bring specific cases before the ITC, particularly for smaller companies there are -- or any sized company. But for smaller companies the costs, the hurdles, sometimes are just beyond their ability to address. I have many businesses in Michigan who have had patents stolen, have had other unfair practices that -- literally have just stopped making the product because it was too costly for them to proceed to a remedy that should be available to them if we're going to have, in fact, fair enforcement on trade.

So I'm wondering what you believe are ways that we could make it easier for companies, particularly small companies, to bring cases before the ITC.

MR. PADILLA: Well, I believe there's a number of things we can do. The largest part of the International Trade Administration is the Commercial Service. And, in fact, the Commercial Service has more than 100 offices throughout the United States and 80 offices overseas. And they in our Import Administration have a very strong customer service ethic, and having been in three different private sector companies and having gone through myself what it takes to file a dumping case -- and that was with the resources of a big company behind me -- I know what it takes and I know what the time frames are.

What I would want to bring is a customer service mentality. And I spoke with Senator Lincoln about this in a meeting I had with her yesterday. We're more than happy to send people out through our Commercial Service offices to meet with domestic industry at their premises or in your state and explain how the dumping laws work, how you don't have to necessarily hire a very high-priced Washington law firm to proceed with a case, and how you can move with a case in the most expedited manner possible.

In other areas, such as intellectual property, which you mentioned, the Commerce Department has recently launched a new website, www.stopfakes.gov, and that was after a case that I was involved with when I was at USTR when we had the manufacturer -- a small glue company in Indiana. He didn't even export his glue. He sold it mostly domestically. But he was on a business trip exploring opportunities -- I believe it was in Dubai -- and he saw his glue being sold, except it wasn't his glue. It was Chinese counterfeit glue, and they had counterfeited everything right down to the picture of his wife holding the glue on the packaging of the product.

It was for those kinds of companies that stopfakes.gov was launched. And in the Trade Compliance Center, which handles those kinds of complaints and others, we get more than 150 such complaints in the Commerce Department every year, and if I'm confirmed, I would work hard to make sure we use our outreach to help small and medium sized companies, because they are usually the ones most affected by unfair imports, and they're also the ones who have the biggest fear about how they can export to new foreign markets.

SEN. STABENOW: Thank you. When former Commerce Secretary Cantor was here speaking on trade enforcement he talked about the lack of credibility that we have on enforcement. I see that every day with businesses coming into my office expressing concern about lack of enforcement. And he also talked about the fact that our Trade Enforcement Office is actually the smallest of any other developed country. Here we are, greatest country in the world, major exporter doing commerce around the world, and yet we have a very small -- actual enforcement office.

I wonder if you might speak about the proposals. I've had legislation with Senator Graham for some time now to create a separate trade enforcement mechanism to -- we've called it the U.S. Trade Prosecutor or Trade Enforcement Office. The chairman and ranking member have a larger trade enforcement bill, which -- I'm pleased to be one of the co-sponsors. So we are in this committee very concerned about broadening and strengthening the enforcement efforts so that there is more confidence that, in fact, actions will be taken. I wonder if you might speak to that.

MR. PADILLA: Yes, I'd be happy to, senator. I would view myself as -- if not the chief, at least one of the chief enforcement officers should I be confirmed because the Commerce Department is responsible for the application of more than 260 anti-dumping and counter-veiling duty orders that are in effect. I might add -- about one third of those are focused on China. The Administration has not been shy about bringing trade enforcement cases -- more than 30 such cases that have been initiated against China.

I'm proud to say, senator, we've recently unveiled a new tool, which is the use of the Counter-veiling Duty Law against Chinese subsidized imports. And the first such case was just announced actually a week or so ago for glossy paper, and there are six more pending. And I think that's an important new tool that I would certainly apply if confirmed.

With regard to other kinds of trade enforcement, senator, you mentioned auto parts. The USTR with the full support of the Commerce Department I know has brought a case against China for unfair barriers on auto parts, and I know that counterfeiting of auto parts is a huge problem. By one count more than 70 percent of all auto parts sold in China itself are counterfeit and responsible for a large number of traffic deaths.

So I'm very familiar with the several enforcement bills that you mentioned, senator. I believe that there are some aspects of those bills where we could work with you that would buttress the authority of the Commerce Department. For example, making clear that we do have the authority, which we have, to apply the Counter-veiling Duty Law against China. I know you've got other proposals for things like more administrative law judges at the ITC.

Enforcement is not just one agency's responsibility. Commerce has a role, the USTR, the International Trade Commission and others. What I can commit to is that if I'm confirmed, I will spare no effort on enforcement, having been involved in some fairly significant enforcement activities in my private sector career in the past.

SEN. STABENOW: Thank you. I'm pleased to see that the Administration is moving forward on a number of cases. I do emphasize from my perspective it was not quick enough. We're at the end of a second term. I wish we had seen these actions at the beginning of the first term. We've lost three million manufacturing jobs in this country. Certainly that is not all due to unfair trade practices, but there are hundreds of thousands of jobs that have been lost because we have not stood up for American businesses and American workers.

This committee has passed a currency bill relating to anti- dumping onto the floor. There are other initiatives you mentioned, counter-veiling duties. And we are committed I believe House and Senate to making sure that we are strengthening our laws that relate to unfair trade. And let me ask -- as it relates now to the Doha Round where I think, in fact, our laws are being threatened when we look at our trade laws and where foreign delegations have made it a central priority to weaken our trade laws right at a time when we are working and committed to strengthening them, as we have seen what this means to middle class families, what this means to communities, what this means to states.

This is a very serious issue I believe in whether or not we keep our standard of living in this country. We want to export our products. We don't want to export our jobs. And that's what's happening right now. I'm worried that this Administration has not done enough to prepare our trading partners for the fact that Congress will not approve agreements that actually weaken trade laws. Do you agree that the United States should reject any outcome that results in a weakening of critical trade laws, and do you believe that the Administration has adequately and accurately expressed the strong feelings of Congress on this issue? And finally, what would you do ensure that our trade laws are not weakened in the Doha Round or in other international negotiations?

MR. PADILLA: Well, thank you for the questions, senator. We have a very clear mandate established by Congress and trade promotion authority to maintain the strength and effectiveness of U.S. trade remedy laws in these and other international trade negotiations. And let me state clearly, senator, that if confirmed, I will not agree to any result that would not accomplish that clear objective.

We have -- in the case of one practice in particular -- I know of particular concern on the part of this committee -- and that's zeroing. I know that a letter was sent last month to Secretary Gutierrez and Ambassador Schwab on this subject. That is a long established practice in our dumping law. The United States has used that practice for 86 years.

And we do not want to allow unfairly dumped products to be masked by other sales. We have had that issue through extensive litigation in the WTO, through conflicting judgments from different panels in the WTO, and if I might say, some highly flawed legal analysis, in my opinion, from the WTO's appellate body. The appellate body appears to have created prohibitions on the use of zeroing where none existed or were intended by the negotiators in the Uruguay Round.

The United States has proposed very clear and precise rules for zeroing in the rules negotiations, and we have made clear and I would make clear if confirmed that the outcome on zeroing and on rules generally is vitally important, and we would and I would indicate that it would be very difficult to conceive of any balanced outcome to the rules and negotiations that does not address this issue.

I know we're working very hard in Geneva to push our proposals. Assistant Secretary David Spooner was there earlier this week. He was explaining to other countries how these WTO rulings would affect their dumping laws as well in a negative way. If I'm confirmed, I will spare no effort either in Geneva or in other capitols to defend our trade remedy laws.

SEN. STABENOW: Well, let me follow up, as you're talking about the WTO and litigation, because we have numerous cases, as you know, that are in front of the WTO that cover everything from environmental issues to tax issues to trade remedy issues and so on, many very important issues that affect our national policies and affect our economies. Are there steps do you think we can take to more effectively litigate at the WTO, and given that our trading partners frequently utilize the services of attorneys representing private parties to assist them in litigation at the WTO, should we be doing more to utilize the resources of private parties that are supportive of the government's position in a case and bring particular expertise on the subject matter?

And finally, are there other resources -- are there resources that the government can use that would impact our effectiveness in our litigation effort?

MR. PADILLA: Well, senator, that's a very important topic. I have some personal experience working in the WTO dispute settlement system from when I was at Kodak together with some staff who now work for this committee, and we worked together on an issue there. And I think you will find if you look in the record some fairly strong statements by me about some shortcomings of the WTO dispute settlement process, particularly with regard to the Japan film case.

Having said that, and having been not shy about voicing those concerns, I would say that on balance this is a system that serves the United States pretty well. Of 123 cases completed, we have won or settled 87. We've lost 36, the remainder in the litigation. While we have a number of very troubling decisions, including the one I was involved with, the zeroing decision that I just mentioned, we also I think have to place very significant importance on respecting the dispute settlement system. And whether we agree with particular decisions or not, there is value in this system, and I believe it serves the interests of the United States.

I do believe that there are reforms that could be made, and the United States is pursuing those in the current WTO Doha discussions. One of the questions you asked is about outside counsel. I do think that USTR and Commerce can and should rely heavily on outside counsel, think tank experts and others. I'm not sure that they should be in the room for the actual arguments before the panel. I do think there's some value in keeping this as a government to government process. But certainly there are many experts on whom I would hope to draw and on whom I've drawn in the past, and I would look forward to doing so on future cases.

SEN. STABENOW: Thank you very much. As we bring this to a close, let me thank you again for all being here, and from my perspective coming from the great state of Michigan, you represent areas that are incredibly important as we look at how we strengthen our standard of living in this country, whether it be healthcare costs, access for individuals, how we structure health insurance, critical as we compete in the global economy, probably the number one cost in a global economy for our businesses.

And certainly on the issue of trade, Mr. Padilla, as you know, this is an issue that hits us right between the eyes as it relates to Michigan, a great state that manufactures items. We grow things. We make things. I don't think we can have an economy in the United States unless we grow things and make things and add value to them. And how we are able to operate and how our laws work in a global economy and whether or not there's a level playing field directly relates to the future success of our country.

So I look forward to working with both of you, all of you, on these issues, and let me also indicate that besides the questions that I've asked today, there are members that will have written questions. And in order to expedite the committee's consideration of your nominations, we ask that you would respond to written questions as soon as possible.

We welcome you again, welcome your families. Thank you very much for being willing to serve. The committee is in recess.


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