Barack Obama nominated Ron Kirk as U.S. trade representative a week before Christmas. A month after that, Obama was sworn in as president. A month after that, the former Dallas mayor's still waiting for his hearing before the Senate Committee on Finance, which still doesn't have Kirk pencilled in on its schedule. Which is why Ambassador Peter F. Allgeier, a Bush appointee, is still the acting U.S. trade rep. Course, with other issues on its plate -- stimulus package, Timothy Geithner's nomination as Secretary of the Treasury and so forth -- the committee's been a wee bit busy.
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But Kirk's wait in line may be over sooner than later: Senator Max Baucus tells Reuters today that the committee's "having a markup next week," and that Kirk should breeze though the confirmation hearing, as there are no concerns "that I'm aware of." Oh, and The Heritage Foundation has a list of six questions it would like put to Kirk -- for which it has helpfully provided the answers, should the ambassador-to-be need a cheat sheet.