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Baucus gets official nod as US envoy

WASHINGTON — Senator Max Baucus, the Montana Democrat who helped Republican George W. Bush win sweeping tax cuts, led the design of President Obama’s health law and then correctly predicted it would be a ‘‘train wreck,’’ is getting a diplomatic plum: Washington is shipping him to China.

Obama said Friday he would nominate Baucus to be US ambassador to China. If confirmed by the Senate, Baucus would become the chamber’s latest contribution to the diplomatic corps, joining former Senator John Kerry, who is Obama’s secretary of state.

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Obama said Baucus has worked to deepen relations between the United States and China. “The economic agreements he helped forge have created millions of American jobs and added billions of dollars to our economy, and he’s perfectly suited to build on that progress in his new role,’’ the president said.

Baucus, 72, had decided not to seek reelection next year.

He was first elected to the Senate in 1978 after two terms in the House. Since 2007, he has chaired the Finance Committee, now the most powerful panel in the Senate with jurisdiction over taxes, trade, Social Security, and health care.

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