Comcast executive and Democratic power broker David L. Cohen is one step closer to being ambassador to Canada. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted in favor of Cohen’s nomination Tuesday, sending it to a full Senate vote, with little fanfare.
“I believe they’re all well-qualified and deserving of their nominations, and I look forward to their swift confirmation,” Sen. Bob Menendez (D., N.J.), the committee chairman, said of the more than 30 people slated for diplomatic roles pending Senate approval.
Canada and the United States trade $1.7 billion in goods and services daily, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. Cohen has said maintaining that strong economic relationship with America’s top export market would be a top priority if confirmed.
Other priorities for Cohen include easing border restrictions as both countries recover from the pandemic, as well as addressing climate change, a joint priority.
While Cohen is not a career diplomat — a sore point with some foreign-policy experts — he is no stranger to politics, and his nomination has garnered support across party lines.
Cohen rose to power in the 1990s as then-Mayor Ed Rendell’s chief of staff and remained a fixture in local and eventually national politics while lobbying for Comcast.
A former senior executive vice president of the cable giant Comcast, Cohen is also a former chair of the University of Pennsylvania’s board of trustees.
Cohen established himself as a prolific fund-raiser for Democrats throughout the years, hosting former President Barack Obama and Joe Biden in his West Mount Airy home. The power player, however, also used his fund-raising abilities to help Republicans such as former Gov. Tom Corbett and Sen. Pat Toomey.
Cohen’s working relationship across party lines landed him praise from both sides of the aisle.
“David’s global business acumen and decades of experience on the world stage will undoubtedly serve him well in this important role,” Toomey said at the time of Cohen’s nomination.
Rendell said Cohen was friendly with senators in Washington during his years at Comcast and built a reputation as a hard worker, which would help him in his confirmation. A date is not set for a full Senate vote.
“He’ll have no problem with his confirmation,” said Rendell. “Republicans know how dedicated he is, how resourceful he is. He’s unique in that regard.”