Incoming Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on Tuesday congratulated Elaine Chao as news emerged that President-elect Donald Trump intends to nominate her to lead the Department of Transportation.
As he praised the former Labor secretary’s “long history of service to our country,” he noted that Democrats have expressed interest in the idea of a new, major infrastructure bill, which Trump has said he would consider in his first 100 days.
“I hope Secretary Chao shares that ambitious goal and is willing to work with Democrats to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure and create millions of good paying jobs along the way,” the New York Democrat said.
Chao led the Labor Department under President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2009 and is married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). Schumer’s support likely paves the way for a smooth confirmation in the Senate.
She would be the second spouse of a Senate majority leader to lead both departments. Former Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-N.C.) served as secretary of transportation under President Ronald Reagan and as labor secretary under President George H.W. Bush.
Chao visited with Trump last week at Trump Tower in New York. During his presidential campaign she advised him on issues related to Asia and the Pacific region.