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Officials: Obama To Nominate Gregg For Commerce

President Obama plans to nominate Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) as his commerce secretary on Tuesday, White House officials confirmed, as Democrats described a deal over how to replace Gregg in the Senate.

Even though New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch is a Democrat, he says there is an "understanding" that he'll appoint a Republican to replace Gregg. This will allow Republicans to keep the 41 seats it needs to filibuster the majority Democrats. But Gregg's replacement will agree not to run in two years, thus giving Democrats a chance to win the seat.

Gregg, 61, is the ranking Republican on the Senate Budget Committee. Known as an effective negotiator, it's thought he could help persuade reluctant colleagues to support the administration's $800 billion economic stimulus package.

If confirmed, Gregg would be the third Republican in the Cabinet. The other two are Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

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Jennifer Ludden
NPR National Correspondent Jennifer Ludden covers economic inequality, exploring systemic disparities in housing, food insecurity and wealth. She seeks to explain the growing gap between socio-economic groups, and government policies to try and change it.