Pritzker handily confirmed as commerce secretary

Nominating Penny Pritzker to be the next Secretary of Commerce, President Obama praised her as "one of our country's most distinguished business leaders," saying, "She's got more than 25 years of management experience - she's built companies from the ground up; she knows from experience that no govenment program alone can take the place of a great entrepreneur."

WASHINGTON (AP)The Senate has confirmed billionaire business executive Penny Pritzker to be secretary of Commerce, filling a vacancy that has stood since John Bryson resigned last summer.

The sweeping 97-1 vote installs Pritzker, a longtime Obama friend who raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for his presidential campaigns, at Commerce in time to assist in trade talks with the European Union and Pacific Rim nations.

Pritzker becomes the fourth woman serving as secretary in Obama's current Cabinet. She is the wealthiest in the Cabinet by far, with Forbes estimating her net worth at $1.85 billion and ranking her as the 277th richest American. The commerce post has been vacant since Bryson resigned after suffering a seizure that led to a series of traffic collisions.