Healthcare Reform Stalling Frank Sanchez's Nomination?
Tampa businessman Frank Sanchez’s nomination to be under secretary of international trade has hit a snag. One source is saying it's because of an investigation into the now-defunct Renaissance Steel, where he was CEO. But the Commerce Department say
UPDATE - 2 p.m.:
? ? A U.S. Commerce Department spokeswoman told Florida Trend Thursday that the agency is frustrated over the delay in Frank Sanchez's confirmation to be under secretary of international trade but rejected speculation that the holdup is related to anything other than the fact that the Senate Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over his confirmation, is bogged down with healthcare reform.
“There’s a lot of impatience up here too,” says Mary Trupo, a senior adviser and director of public affairs for the International Trade Administration.
Trupo said the slowdown is not connected to a federal investigation into the now-defunct Renaissance Steel, where he was CEO. “All of that has been cleared."
Sanchez, meanwhile, isn’t just sitting idly by. “He’s already been laying out plans to expand export promotion,” Trupo says. “He’s had his due diligence meetings. He’s had his questions submitted and answered and everything’s gone splendidly. We’re just awaiting a confirmation date.”
During a roundtable discussion with local Tampa business leaders last week, Sen. George LeMieux (R) was asked to look into what’s holding up Tampa businessman Frank Sanchez’s nomination to be under secretary of international trade, the number three position in the Department of Commerce.
President Obama nominated Sanchez, a Tampa attorney who headed up Obama’s National Hispanic Leadership Council and served as an adviser to his campaign on Hispanic issues, for the position in April.
But while members of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee approved Sanchez by voice vote in May, his nomination has stalled in the Senate Finance Committee. Both committees must approve his nomination to the International Trade Administration post before it comes to the Senate floor for a vote.
LeMieux says he is unaware of what is holding up Sanchez’s nomination, but the Huffington Post reported late last month that Sanchez’ nomination is being delayed by Republican staff serving under Chuck Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee.
Citing sources in the private sector, the weekly newsletter “Inside U.S. Trade” speculated this past August that Sanchez’ holdup may be related to his role as CEO of the now-defunct Tampa company Renaissance Steel. The Department of Health and Human Services has been investigating whether the company may have misused federal funds it received from a non-profit group in 2005. (See St. Petersburg Times story)
Sanchez did not immediately respond an e-mail seeking comment on the matter.