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  1. US Senate confirms Wilbur Ross as Commerce Secretary

US Senate confirms Wilbur Ross as Commerce Secretary

The Senate voted 72-27 to confirm Ross, who has been highly critical of China's trade practices and who has had a strong influence on Trump's opposition to multilateral trade deals such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

By: | Washington | Published: February 28, 2017 7:13 AM
Trump has designated Ross to lead a renegotiation of the 23-year-old U.S.-Canada-Mexico North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). (Reuters)

The U.S. Senate easily confirmed billionaire investor Wilbur Ross as U.S. commerce secretary on Monday with strong support from Democrats, installing President Donald Trump’s top official on trade matters. The Senate voted 72-27 to confirm Ross, who has been highly critical of China’s trade practices and who has had a strong influence on Trump’s opposition to multilateral trade deals such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Trump has designated Ross to lead a renegotiation of the 23-year-old U.S.-Canada-Mexico North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Highlights of the day for U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration on Monday:

BUDGET
Trump is seeking a “historic increase” in military spending, and a White House official says his first budget proposal will include an additional $54 billion for the Pentagon while slashing the same amount from foreign aid and other agencies. More than 120 retired U.S. generals and admirals are urging Congress to fully fund U.S. diplomacy and foreign aid, areas expected to be targeted for cuts in Trump’s first budget proposal. The Republican chairman of the House Armed Services Committee says Trump’s reported $603 billion defense budget request is low, a sign of the fight ahead between Republicans and Democrats, who oppose slashing non-military spending to boost Pentagon funding.

OBAMACARE
Trump seeks to bring the nation’s largest insurance companies on board with his plans to overhaul Obamacare, saying their help was needed to deliver a smooth transition to the Republicans’ new plan.

CABINET
Billionaire investor Wilbur Ross easily wins confirmation as U.S. commerce secretary, clearing Trump’s top trade official to start work on renegotiating trade relationships with China and Mexico.

TRAVEL BAN
A federal appeals court rejects a U.S. Justice Department request to place on hold an appeal over Trump’s travel ban on people from seven majority-Muslim countries.

RUSSIA
The head of a congressional committee investigating contacts between Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia says the panel has not seen evidence of inappropriate communications, prompting the panel’s top Democrat to insist it is too early to make such a determination.

CHINA
Trump, who has attacked China on issues from trade to the South China Sea, holds his first face-to-face talks with a member of the Chinese leadership, and the White House says it was a chance to discuss shared security interests and a possible meeting with President Xi Jinping.

SUPPORT
Supporters of Trump rally in communities across the country, partly as a rebuttal to anti-Trump protests that have taken place since his election in November.

EU RELATIONSHIP
A Trump executive order to crack down on illegal immigration will not undermine two data transfer agreements between the United States and the European Union, Washington writes in a letter to allay European concerns.

BUSH
Republican former U.S. President George W. Bush diverges from Trump’s new administration by saying he supports a welcoming immigration policy and praising the media as “indispensable to democracy.”

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