Gov. Branstad Confirmed as U.S. Ambassador to China; Grassley Welcomes Strong Support
The Senate voted to confirm Gov. Terry Branstad as U.S. ambassador to China on an 82 to 13 vote. Sen. Chuck Grassley gave a speech on the Senate floor immediately prior to the vote. Video of the speech delivery is available here.
Floor Speech of Sen. Chuck Grassley
Full Senate Vote on Nomination of Gov. Terry Branstad as U.S. Ambassador to China
Monday, May 22, 2017
I’m pleased that the Senate is finally considering the nomination of Governor Branstad to be Ambassador to China.
Before I speak about the nominee, I’d first like to express my disappointment and frustration with the seemingly endless obstruction on the part of the minority.
This nominee received unanimous support in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee more than a week ago. Yet, the Majority Leader was required to file cloture on the nominee.
We could have approved this nomination with just a few minutes of debate time, yet, the minority required that we use 30 hours – not because they wanted to debate the merits of the nominee, but simply to delay the business of this body.
It’s unfortunate that their delay has kept an eminently qualified individual from getting into the job to promote American interests in China sooner.
I’m honored to have the opportunity today to speak to my colleagues about my good friend, Governor Terry Branstad.
Governor Branstad is the longest serving governor in U.S. history. He’s a lifelong Iowan who has devoted his life to public service.
After more than 22 years as my home state’s chief executive, I’m proud to support Governor Branstad’s nomination to serve our country as the next U.S. Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China.
The fact is, he’s been an ambassador for Iowa to the nation and to world for his entire career. He’s been a champion for Iowa and on behalf of Iowans around the globe.
As governor, he’s been vigorous in promoting our state’s economy and opening markets for our farm commodities, financial services and manufacturing to the world marketplace.
His nomination should come as no surprise to the people of Iowa. We have long known and benefited from the relationship Governor Branstad has with the people of China.
A sister-state relationship in 1983 has grown into a successful trade partnership that has benefited Iowa farmers and businesses.
Perhaps most notably, Governor Branstad enjoys a 30-year friendship with President Xi. Their first meeting took place in 1985 when Xi was then a local provincial official who led an agriculture delegation to Iowa.
President Xi visited Iowa again in 2012, when Governor Branstad was back at the helm in his fifth term. Their relationship reflects genuine goodwill and mutual respect.
Governor Branstad has never stopped working to expand Iowa’s trade, investment and economic partnerships on the world stage, including with China.
He will bring Midwestern humility and level-headed leadership to the job. He is a work horse who is unafraid to get in the trenches to get the job done.
I have no doubt he will stand strong for our American values, such as freedom of the press and religious liberty, and work to strengthen peace, stability and prosperity between our two nations.
Once confirmed, I’m confident that Governor Branstad will bring to bear his tireless commitment to solve problems and always move the ball forward.
Although his heart will always be in Iowa, I know that Governor Branstad will throw himself into this job whole-heartedly.
Governor Branstad is uniquely qualified to help strengthen the trade, economic, cultural and geo-political relationship between our two countries.
I’m pleased that he’s now been called to serve as Ambassador to China. I have every confidence that he will represent the United States well and excel just as he has throughout his career.
Without reservation, I support this nomination. I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting his nomination.
Thank you and I yield the floor.