Obama Announces Plan to Name Baucus Ambassador to China (Updated)

Posted December 20, 2013 at 10:12am

Updated 11:23 a.m. | It’s official — President Barack Obama announced Friday his intention to nominate Sen. Max Baucus as ambassador to China.

“For more than two decades Max Baucus has worked to deepen the relationship between the United States and China,” Obama said in a statement. “The economic agreements he helped forge have created millions of American jobs and added billions of dollars to our economy, and he’s perfectly suited to build on that progress in his new role.”

Baucus said he was “humbled” and “deeply honored” in a statement.

“If confirmed, my goal will be to further strengthen diplomatic and economic ties between our two nations,” he said.

“My career has been dedicated to public service. It is something I care about deeply. It’s an honor to be presented with an opportunity to follow in the footsteps of my mentor, Mike Mansfield, who worked to strengthen and improve America’s important relationships throughout Asia.”

His House counterpart, Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., offered congratulations.

“Dealing with China will not be an easy task, but I have learned to never underestimate Max,” he said in a statement. “From a legislative standpoint, Congress is losing a true giant. He has racked up more legislative victories than most can ever hope for – he is an instant Hall-of-Famer.”

Camp also gave a nod to Baucus’s expected replacement atop the Finance panel, Ron Wyden of Oregon.

“It is a great relief that Max is expected to be replaced by Ron Wyden, someone I’ve known for a long time and trust,” Camp said.

Sources had earlier indicated that the Montana Democrat would get the post, which has set off a flurry of speculation about the political implication for Democrats retaining Baucus’ Senate seat.