— Domani Spero
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So last night, the Senate did a few more selective confirmation, then ran out the door for the real fun stuff (see Sorry FSOs: Senate Confirms Lippert, O’Malley, Nell Crocker, Scheinman, Holleyman and Lenhardt). There are more than 30 ambassadorial nominations pending in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee plus nominations and promotions of career employees awaiting Senate approval. About three dozens nominees for State/USAID/BBG are stuck on the Senate’s Executive Calendar.
No career diplomat made the confirmation cut during the Senate’s last day in session. Which means, a good number of them will have to wait for confirmation during the lame duck session. Because things will definitely change then. Or not. Failing that, they all presumably will be renominated at the start of the new Congress in 2015, and things will definitely work better then. Or not.
Perplexing thing, though … just the other day, during the Benghazi Select Committee hearing, the Republicans and Democrats in Congress exchanged so many thank-yous “it could have been the Oscars” according to WaPo’s Dana Milbank. At the end of the hearing, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) recalled the four dead Americans, “I want to adjourn in memory of Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Ty Woods and Glen Doherty,” he said. We missed this but according to WaPo, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D- Md.) reportedly also “embraced the theme” saying, “We are Americans … everybody trying to do the best they can to protect our people.”
We missed the group hug but see, they really do care about the career people we send out overseas. Except when they don’t.
In fairness, we must note that the Senate did a full plate of legislative business during its last session including the following:
Adopted S.Res.574: National Estuaries Week
Adopted S.Res.575: Prostate Cancer Awareness
Adopted S.Res.566: South Dakota 125th Anniversary
Adopted S.Res.420 – Naturopathic Medicine Week
Passed S.2040 – Blackfoot River Land Exchange
Passed S.2061 by voice vote – Preventing Conflicts of Interest with Contractors Act
Passed S.2583 – E-Label Act
Passed S.2778 – Secretary of State Reward for Information
— Niels Lesniewski (@nielslesniewski) September 19, 2014
Clearly, “everybody trying to do the best they can to protect our people “… does not include protecting our people from the Congress. One might start to think that our elected representatives do not really care about our embassies and career diplomats, they just like saying so when they want to hear themselves talk.
So what if career diplomats are stuck in the Oakwood apartments in waiting mode for a year going on two years?
So what if an embassy has not had an ambassador for over 400 days?
You think the Senate might care more if its a place they want to visit for their next CODEL like Seoul or Paris? Maybe, but holy guacamole, who’s been on a CODEL to Albania or Timor-Leste in the last 12 months? Anyone?
* * *
- Many Obama nominees will be left on the floor Thursday night when the Senate slithers out of town (washingtonpost.com)
- Dear Senators, Do You Really Want President Obama to Appoint 65 Special Presidential Envoys? (diplopundit.net)
- Senate Confirmations: Hoover, Harrington, Robinson, Hartley, Hachigian (diplopundit.net)
- After 444 days, Senate Confirms Thomas Daughton For Namibia, Also Confirms Bass, Schultz and Pressman (diplopundit.net)
- St. Louis Attorney to Become U.S. Ambassador to Ireland (stlouis.cbslocal.com)
- US Senate to vote on new Irish ambassador, Kevin O’Malley (irishtimes.com)
- O’Malley approved as US ambassador to Ireland (irishtimes.com)
- Sorry FSOs: Senate Confirms Lippert, O’Malley, Nell Crocker, Scheinman, Holleyman and Lenhardt (diplopundit.net)