Governor Terry Branstad was reading through budget bills line-by-line when someone on his staff told him the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee had just voted to support his nomination to be U.S. ambassador to China.
“I was pleased to hear that. That’s encouraging, so we’re hopeful,” Branstad told reporters late this morning. “Senator Grassley thinks it could come up as early as next week in the full senate. We’ll find out.”
Branstad was asked if there was any celebrating in the room after the committee vote was unanimous.
“The staff was able to bring me the good news once the voice vote was done and, you know, it wasn’t a big deal,” Branstad said.
The big deal will be a vote on the Senate floor. Branstad’s nomination to be President Trump’s leading emissary to China seems to be on a fast track now. No senator has raised an objection publicly. Republican senators will be polled privately to get a firm vote count.
“They have a procedure that they go through to see whether they’re ready to vote on it or not — or whether there’s going to be a filibuster or whatever,” Branstad said. “I’m very hopeful…Obviously the vote today is an encouraging sign.”
Branstad said once confirmed, he and his wife will have to go through an orientation program for new ambassadors and their spouses. He expects to be landing in China sometime in June.