By Jon Reid
January 31, 2017 at 1:59 pm ET
The Senate on Tuesday easily confirmed Elaine Chao as the next transportation secretary, making her the fifth of President Donald Trump’s nominees to receive Senate confirmation.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and four other Democrats opposed her in the 93-6 vote. While Chao offered few details during her confirmation hearing about how she would lead the Department of Transportation, her government experience won her bipartisan support.
“We know her well and her government experience as the previous secretary of labor and deputy secretary of transportation,” Florida Sen. Bill Nelson, ranking Democrat on the Senate Commerce Committee, said in a floor speech before the vote. He called Chao, who is married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), “a part of the Senate family.”
The Commerce Committee approved Chao’s nomination by voice vote on Jan. 24.
As head of the Transportation Department, Chao will play a crucial role in making Trump’s infrastructure plan a reality.