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POLITICS: White House

Obama to nominate fundraiser Penny Pritzker for commerce secretary

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,White House,Brian Hughes,Barack Obama,Commerce

President Obama will nominate Chicago businesswoman Penny Pritzker to be his next commerce secretary and Michael Froman for United States trade representative at 10:15 a.m. Thursday, according to a White House official.

Obama and Pritzker have a long history together. And the billionaire helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for Obama’s presidential campaign.

Her confirmation isn’t a sure bet, either. In addition to GOP concerns, liberals will focus on Pritzker’s stint as director of the Hyatt Hotels Corp. — the hotel chain has had a tenuous relationship with labor unions.

Commerce was the final vacancy needing to be filled in Obama’s second-term Cabinet. The commerce post has remained vacant since former Secretary John Bryson resigned following a traffic accident caused by a seizure.

Pritzker was also a member of Obama’s jobs council, which was discontinued at the start of the president’s second term — much to the chagrin of Republicans.

Froman, a veteran from President Clinton’s administration, now serves as an assistant to the president and deputy national security advisor for international economics. He was the chief White House negotiator in completing trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama.

Obama will make the announcement from the Rose Garden.

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Brian Hughes

White House Correspondent
The Washington Examiner