@StateDept Nominations Forgotten by the Time Lords of Capitol Hill

Posted: 2:17 am EDT
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The U.S. Senate went home for the holiday and will convene on January, 4th, 2016 at 12:00 noon for a pro forma session only, with no business to be conducted. The Senate stands adjourn until 2:00 pm on Monday, January 11th, 2016.

So we’re looking at the long list of nominees stuck both at the Executive Calendar and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at the end of 2015. Some of these nominees are regular Foreign Service officers who have been waiting for confirmation for at least 24 months without action. So we sent an email to Rori Kramer, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Regional, Global and Functional Affairs at the Bureau of Legislative Affairs who “directs the policy-making and technical aspects of the Department’s relationship with Congress across the full range of regional, global, and functional interests of the Department of State.” 

We are  particularly interested in two things: 1) the regular FSO nominees whose names have been held at the SFRC for 2-3 years. These are not ambassador rank officials but regular FSOs. We’ve also notice that more and more, names are split from the main FS lists when they reach the SFRC; 2) we’re also looking at the high ranking nominees still waiting for confirmation.

Since the Senate composition will not change in 2016, we are curious what is the State Department’s plan to get these nominees through the Senate and into their posts in 2016? Are we looking at the next 12 months with very little movement on confirmations? What is the end game for regular FSOs whose names are held by the SFRC year after year with no vote in the Senate?

Ms. Kramer acknowledged our email but handed the inquiry off to some other State Department official who told us the following:

While the vast majority of our FSO ‎promotions have been approved, we are working for the promotion of all our waiting Foreign Service officers and nominees and will continue to do so until they are approved by the Senate.

Every foreign service promotion list that has been sent to the Senate has been approved. The State Department does not split the list in any way.

The lists, in fact, have been split in more than one occasion, below is the latest:

PN951-1 — 114th Congress (2015-2016) | STATE – Class of Career Minister (FE-CM); confirmed on 12/10/2015

PN951-2 — 114th Congress (2015-2016) STATE — Class of Career Minister (FE-CM); currently pending in the SFRC.

PN951 is obviously one promotion list until Ambassador Richard Olson‘s name was split from the list and held back at the SFRC. Ambassador Olson is currently the U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan (SRAP). He was previously the U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan.

As to having “Every foreign service promotion list that has been sent to the Senate has been approved,” we had to email back and asked if they realize that the following have not, in fact, been approved?

2015-11-19 PN953 Foreign Service | Nominations beginning Jennifer M. Adams, and ending Sunil Sebastian Xavier, which 37 nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on November 19, 2015.

2015-11-19 PN952 Foreign Service | Nominations beginning Cheryl L. Anderson, and ending Melissa A. Williams, which 11 nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on November 19, 2015.

 

Below is a list of the pending nominations both on the Executive Calendar and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee as of December 28, 2015.  Senate rules provide that “nominations neither confirmed nor rejected during the session at which they are made shall not be acted upon at any succeeding session without being again made to the Senate by the President…” In practice, such nominations have sometimes been returned to the President at the end of the first session and are always returned to the President at the end of the Congress. Nominations also may be returned automatically to the President at the beginning of a recess of more than 30 days (Senate Rule XXXI), but the rule providing for this return has often been waived (Via CRS – PDF). Senate.gov makes no indication at this time that these nominations have been returned to the President.

The most common way a nomination fails to be confirmed is through lack of action: either the committee never takes up the nomination or the Senate fails to consider it, despite committee action.

Folks, if staffers in the SFRC want to see records of FSOs all the way back to kindergarten, ought the State Department not put a warning on its careers.state.gov page? If an employee threw a punch in Kinder 1 and had been cleared of all charges, he/she better have records to show for it. Because just saying one had been cleared of any allegation or charge will not be enough.  If you or the principal’s office had shredded those reports per disposition of records regulation, well boo! on you! If the Iranians were able to reconstruct shredded cables at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, the Senate folks probably thought anyone should be able to recreate any record all the way back to the Time Lords!

There’s something inherently unfair about this that we find disturbing. If this is the new normal in the confirmation process, not just with ambassador ranked nominations but with regular Foreign Service Officers, how is this supposed to end for nominees? What is the end game for FSOs promoted by a Selection Board but whose names have been pending in the SFRC for years? Will these nominations be resubmitted to the committee periodically … but until when? How does one bid for an onward assignment if he/she had been technically promoted but not confirmed by the Senate?

And what is Secretary Kerry, formerly of the Foreign Relations Committee, doing about this?

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Pending on the Executive Calendar, 114th Congress:

PN175 Cassandra Q. Butts, of the District of Columbia, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.

PN49 Azita Raji, of California, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Kingdom of Sweden.

PN87 Brian James Egan, of Maryland, to be Legal Adviser of the Department of State.

PN478 Samuel D. Heins, of Minnesota, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Kingdom of Norway.

PN45 Marisa Lago, of New York, to be a Deputy United States Trade Representative, with the rank of Ambassador.

PN477 John L. Estrada, of Florida, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.

PN828 Barbara Lee, of California, to be a Representative of the United States of America to the Seventieth Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations.

PN829 Christopher H. Smith, of New Jersey, to be a Representative of the United States of America to the Seventieth Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations.

PN910 David McKean, of Massachusetts, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Luxembourg.

PN526 Roberta S. Jacobson, of Maryland, a Career Member of the Senior Executive Service, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the United Mexican States.

PN872 Thomas A. Shannon, Jr., of Virginia, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Career Ambassador, to be an Under Secretary of State (Political Affairs).

 

Pending at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC):

AMBASSADORS

2015-12-18 PN1041 Department of State Adam H. Sterling, of Virginia, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Slovak Republic.

2015-11-09 PN934 Department of State Karen Brevard Stewart, of Florida, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of the Marshall Islands.

2015-11-09 PN933 Department of State Robert Annan Riley III, of Florida, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Federated States of Micronesia.

2015-10-21 PN915 Department of State Scot Alan Marciel, of California, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Career Minister, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Union of Burma.

 

STATE DEPARTMENT

2015-10-08 PN909 Department of State Amos J. Hochstein, of the District of Columbia, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (Energy Resources).

2015-01-08 PN48 Department of State Jennifer Ann Haverkamp, of Indiana, to be Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs.

 

FS LISTS – PROMOTIONS

2015-11-19 PN953 Foreign Service Nominations beginning Jennifer M. Adams, and ending Sunil Sebastian Xavier, which 37 nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on November 19, 2015.

2015-11-19 PN952 Foreign Service Nominations beginning Cheryl L. Anderson, and ending Melissa A. Williams, which 11 nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on November 19, 2015.

2015-11-19 PN951-2 Foreign Service Nomination for Richard Gustave Olson, Jr., which nomination was received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on November 19, 2015.

2015-01-13 PN72-6 Foreign Service Nominations beginning Eric N. Rumpf, and ending Daniel Menco Hirsch, which 2 nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on January 13, 2015.

2015-01-13 PN71-2 Foreign Service Nominations beginning David J. Barth, and ending R. Douglass Arbuckle, which 2 nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on January 13, 2015.

 

FS LISTS – APPOINTMENTS

2015-09-10 PN830 Foreign Service Nominations beginning Christopher Alexander, and ending Tipten Troidl, which 28 nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on September 10, 2015.

2015-06-10 PN573-2 Foreign Service Nominations beginning Jeffries Blunt de Graffenried, Jr., and ending Christopher Nairn Steel, which 3 nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on June 10, 2015.

2015-05-07 PN464 Foreign Service Nominations beginning Eric Del Valle, and ending Ryan Truxton, which 7 nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on May 7, 2015.

2015-02-26 PN230-2 Foreign Service Nominations beginning David Elliott Horton III, and ending Victoria L Mitchell, which 2 nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on February 26, 2015.

 

USAID

2015-12-07 PN1005 United States Agency for International Development Marcela Escobari, of Massachusetts, to be an Assistant Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development.

 

STATE/INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION

2015-11-19 PN948 Asian Development Bank Swati A. Dandekar, of Iowa, to be United States Director of the Asian Development Bank, with the rank of Ambassador.

2015-10-05 PN895 Department of State Matthew John Matthews, of Oregon, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, for the rank of Ambassador during his tenure of service as United States Senior Official for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum

2015-09-16 PN844 European Bank for Reconstruction and Development Catherine Ann Novelli, of Virginia, to be United States Alternate Governor of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

2015-09-10 PN827 United Nations Cassandra Q. Butts, of the District of Columbia, to be a Representative of the United States of America to the Seventieth Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations.

2015-08-05 PN771 International Atomic Energy Agency Laura S. H. Holgate, of Virginia, to be the Representative of the United States of America to the International Atomic Energy Agency, with the rank of Ambassador.

2015-08-05 PN770 United Nations Laura S. H. Holgate, of Virginia, to be Representative of the United States of America to the Vienna Office of the United Nations, with the rank of Ambassador.

2015-07-08 PN628 Department of State Mari Carmen Aponte, of the District of Columbia, to be Permanent Representative of the United States of America to the Organization of American States, with the rank of Ambassador.

2015-03-04 PN240 International Monetary Fund Mark Sobel, of Virginia, to be United States Executive Director of the International Monetary Fund for a term of two years.

2015-02-26 PN229 African Development Bank Marcia Denise Occomy, of the District of Columbia, to be United States Director of the African Development Bank for a term of five years.

2015-02-26 PN228 Inter-American Development Bank Mileydi Guilarte, of the District of Columbia, to be United States Alternate Executive Director of the Inter-American Development Bank.

 

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