Huntsman among 5 going before Senate committee
This week's confirmation hearing for Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr.'s nomination to be U.S.ambassador to China may end up being a quick, cursory review instead of a high-profile inquisition.
Huntsman is scheduled to appear before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday morning, but will share the schedule with four other ambassador nominees, including John V. Roos, who has been selected to be ambassador to Japan.
That will likely mean that Huntsman won't exactly be grilled by senators as they try to move quickly through the full slate of nominees. Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., one of the junior members of the committee, will be presiding.
Huntsman's spokeswoman, Lisa Roskelley, said the governor will be accompanied at the hearing by members of his family.
The governor is in Washington this week for last-minute preparations, participating in State Department briefings and preparing for Thursday's hearing, she said.
"Governor Huntsman is prepared to discuss with the committee his qualifications and the administration's agenda with regard to China," she said. "The governor is hopeful that he will be able to satisfy their questions and requests expediently."
The committee will not vote Thursday on whether to send Huntsman's name to the full Senate. That will come during a later business meeting, typically held on Tuesday, although nominees generally are expected to respond to any written questions from senators before the committee acts on the nomination.
The Senate is expected to begin its summer recess on Aug. 7. If it has not approved Huntsman's nomination by then, it could be early September before there is an opportunity to formally confirm him.
Once he is confirmed by the Senate, Huntsman is expected to resign his position and Lt. Gov. Gary Herbert will become Utah's 17th governor.