A waiver needed for U.S. trade representative nominee Robert Lighthizer to be confirmed for the role could be delayed as Democrats gear up for a fight to get the Miners Protection Act passed — an effort that Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) believes has no chance of success.
[Daily News| February 16, 2017 |Inside US Trade]
Senate Democrats, led by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), are demanding passage of the full miners bill — including the pension and healthcare portions of it — before they agree to grant a waiver for Lighthizer, who has yet to appear before the Finance panel for his confirmation hearing.
According to Hatch and others, Lighthizer needs a waiver to a provision of the 1974 Trade Act, which could prohibit him from becoming USTR because of his involvement with at least one foreign government in a trade dispute with the U.S. in the 1980s.
“I don’t think it has a chance because it’s too expensive,” Hatch told Inside U.S. Trade on Feb. 16, referring to the miners bill. “I mean I wish it did. I passed it through the committee, and I’m empathetic with the miners, but their union did not have the funds for it.”