Democratic Senator Max Baucus of Montana is the Obama administration's pick to be the next Ambassador to China. Baucus has already announced that he would not seek reelection in 2014—he began serving as senator 35 years ago in 1978—and currently heads up the Finance Committee, where he's been pushing aggressively for tax code reform.
Baucus is also known as a chief architect of the Affordable Care Act, and foresaw the muddy communications issues that currently plague the law's rollout. He also co-authored the 2001 Bush tax cuts.
Baucus was chosen, reports The New York Times, due to:
his efforts to bring down trade barriers between China and the United States and his insistence that “China play by internationally accepted rules” regarding currency, intellectual property, labor and human rights.
Baucus early exit before the midterm elections could help Democratic chances of holding on to his contested seat. It would allow Democratic Governor Steve bullock to appoint Lieutenant Governor John Walsh to Baucus's seat, letting Walsh build up an incumbency before voting day.
In terms of the Senate Finance Committee, West Virginia Democrat Jay Rockefeller would be next in line to take over.