Pritzker, a Democratic mega-donor whose family founded the Hyatt Hotel chain, was the president’s 2008 campaign finance chair and a 2012 campaign co-chair. Her nomination moved with relative ease in the Senate at a time when
The nation has been without a full-time Commerce secretary since
Despite the overwhelming confirmation vote, Pritzker’s nomination drew concerns from both the left and right. A major labor union that represents hotel workers said the Hyatt chain has a history of unfriendly labor practices. At the same time, her wealth had raised questions about what Sen.
Pritzker, whose wealth is estimated at $1.85 billion, has requested that her holdings in overseas trusts be moved to the United States.
Pritzker had the support of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee's top Republican, John
The Senate has approved eight of Obama's 12 nominees for Cabinet-level posts in his second term.
Obama’s nomination of Charlotte, N.C., Mayor
But Republicans stepped up their objections Tuesday to
In nominating Pritzker, the president called her one of the nation's "most distinguished business leaders." Pritzker said during her confirmation hearing in May that the president had expressed his desire that she work as a bridge between the administration and the business community.
"Penny is a proven leader, a successful entrepreneur, and one of the most accomplished and highly-respected women in business today," Obama said after the vote, and she "will be a key member of my economic team as we continue to work to grow our economy and strengthen the middle class."
Staff writer Katherine Skiba contributed to this report.