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July 20 SFRC Hearing: Kay Bailey Hutchison to be U.S. Ambassador to NATO

Posted: 1:22 am ET
Updated: 11:48 am PT

 

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) is holding a confirmation hearing on the nomination of former Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison to be the next U.S. Ambassador to NATO.

Date: Thursday, July 20, 2017
Time: 09:30 AM
Location: SD-419
Presiding: Senator Corker

A live video of the hearing and the prepared testimony will be posted here when available.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Per Section 712 of the Department of State Authorities Act, Fiscal Year 2017, the State Department is required to post the Certificates of Competency online within seven days of transmittal to the Senate.  As of this writing, there is no report available online for Senator Hutchison.

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July 20 SFRC Hearing: Kathleen Troia McFarland to be U.S. Ambassador to Singapore

Posted: 1:14 am ET
Updated: 11:50 am PT

 

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) is holding a confirmation hearing on the nomination of K.T. McFarland to be U.S. Ambassador to Singapore.

Date: Thursday, July 20, 2017
Time: 09:30 AM
Location: SD-419
Presiding: Senator Corker

A live video of the hearing and the prepared testimony will be posted here when available.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Below is the Certificate of Demonstrated Competence report made available online by the State Department per Section 712 of the Department of State Authorities Act, Fiscal Year 2017:

SUBJECT: Ambassadorial Nomination: Certificate of Demonstrated Competence — Foreign Service Act, Section 304(a)(4)

POST: Republic of Singapore

CANDIDATE: Kathleen Troia McFarland

Kathleen Troia McFarland, a prominent national security analyst, television commentator, political nominee and former senior U.S. Government official, has served as the Deputy National Security Advisor in the National Security Council at the White House since the advent of the Trump Administration. Ms. McFarland has a strong background in foreign policy, government service and political engagement. She was a Candidate for the U.S. Senate in New York in 2006 and for the U.S. House of Representatives, 12th District of New York in 2005. Her demonstrated ability to lead large, complex government institutions, engage effectively in high-level political endeavors, tackle numerous challenges with great intellectual acumen and clearly articulate U.S. government policy make her an excellent candidate for U.S. Ambassador to Singapore.

Previously, Ms. McFarland was a freelance national security commentator on Fox News in New York City and the District of Columbia (2013-2016) and occasionally made public appearances as a guest on other television networks (2007-2013). She served as a staff member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (1991), on the staff of the National Security Council (1970-1976), both in Washington, District of Columbia, and as a Senior Speechwriter and Assistant to the Secretary and Deputy Secretary of Defense, Department of Defense, Arlington, Virginia (1982-1985). In the interims, she raised her family of five children.

Ms. McFarland earned a Ph.D. from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, a B.A./M.A. from the University of Oxford, Oxford, England and a B.A. from George Washington University, Washington, District of Columbia. She received a Distinguished Civilian Service Award from the Department of Defense. She is a Member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

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July 20 SFRC Hearing: Lewis M. Eisenberg to be U.S. Ambassador to Italy and San Marino

Posted: 1:05 am ET
Updated: 11:49 am PT

 

Today, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) is holding a confirmation hearing on the nomination of Lewis M. Eisenberg to be U.S. Ambassador to Italy and San Marino.

Date: Thursday, July 20, 2017
Time: 09:30 AM
Location: SD-419
Presiding: Senator Corker

A live video of the hearing and the prepared testimony will be posted here when available.

Below is the Certificate of Demonstrated Competence report made available online by the State Department per Section 712 of the Department of State Authorities Act, Fiscal Year 2017:

SUBJECT: Ambassadorial Nomination:  Certificate of Demonstrated Competence — Foreign Service Act, Section 304(a)(4)

POST: Italian Republic and the Republic of San Marino

CANDIDATE: Lewis M. Eisenberg

Lewis M. Eisenberg is a prominent American financier and investor. He is a co-founder and managing partner of Ironhill Investments in New York. From 1995-2001 Mr. Eisenberg was the Chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, responsible for overseeing the region’s international airports and seaports, bridges, tunnels and the World Trade Center. He was named a Founding Board Member of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, formed after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and he chaired its Victims’ Families and Transportation Advisory Councils (2001-2003). Mr. Eisenberg is an Emeritus Member of Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management Advisory Council and Life Member of the Cornell University Council. Mr. Eisenberg’s demonstrated business acumen and engaged leadership in philanthropy as well as partnering with state and local governments on complex issues, make him well-qualified to serve as Ambassador to the Italian Republic.

Mr. Eisenberg was Senior Advisor for Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (2009-2015), Co-Chairman of Granite Capital International Group, both in New York (1990-2011), and spent 23 years at Goldman Sachs, where he served as General Partner and Co-head of the Equity Division. He has served on numerous boards over four decades, including ITC and Granum Communications LLC, as well as the Boards of St. Barnabas Health Care System, Monmouth Medical Center and New York Service for the Handicapped.

Mr. Eisenberg earned a B.A. from Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire in 1964 and an M.B.A. from Cornell University, Ithaca, New York in 1966.  He is the recipient of numerous awards and has been honored by the American Jewish Committee, the National Conference for Community and Justice, Monmouth University, Liberty Science Center, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Newark, New Jersey, and the New Jersey Alliance for Action.

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July 20 SFRC Hearing: Robert W. Johnson IV for United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Posted: 1:01 am ET
Updated: 11:47 am PT

 

Today, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) is holding a confirmation hearing on the nomination of Robert W. Johnson IV to be U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Date: Thursday, July 20, 2017
Time: 09:30 AM
Location: SD-419
Presiding: Senator Corker

A live video of the hearing and the prepared testimony will be posted here when available.

Below is the Certificate of Demonstrated Competence report made available online by the State Department per Section 712 of the Department of State Authorities Act, Fiscal Year 2017:

SUBJECT: Ambassadorial Nomination: Certificate of Demonstrated Competence — Foreign Service Act, Section 304(a)(4)

POST: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

CANDIDATE: Robert Wood Johnson IV

Robert Wood Johnson IV, a prominent businessman, committed civic leader and compassionate philanthropist, has been, for more than thirty years, the Chairman and CEO of The Johnson Company, New York, NY, a private asset management firm. Since 2000, he has also been Chairman and CEO of the New York Jets, an NFL franchise team and the Chairman and CEO of the New York Jets Foundation, New York. Mr. Johnson is also the Founding Chairman of Lupus Research Alliance, the largest non-profit organization dedicated to the prevention, treatment and cure of lupus. Mr. Johnson served on the President’s Export Council (1989-93) and the President’s Commission on White House Fellows (2001-02). His demonstrated commitment to a culture of success and his wide-ranging engagement in business, community and government make him well-qualified to serve as U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Mr. Johnson serves as Trustee Emeritus of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the nation’s largest philanthropic organization devoted exclusively to promoting health and advancing healthcare. He has been a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, New York since 1993 and is serving as a board member of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center. He also lends his time and talents to The Peregrine Fund, Boise, Idaho.

Mr. Johnson earned his B.A. degree in 1972 from the University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona. He also attended the Harvard University Graduate School of Business Administration and completed the Smaller Company Management Program in Boston, Massachusetts in 1982.

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July 20 SFRC Hearing: Kelly Craft to be U.S. Ambassador to Canada

Posted: 12:54 am ET
Updated: 11:50 am PT

 

Today, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) is holding a confirmation hearing on the nomination of Kelly Craft to be the U.S. Ambassador to Canada.

Date: Thursday, July 20, 2017
Time: 09:30 AM
Location: SD-419
Presiding: Senator Corker

A live video of the hearing and the prepared testimony will be posted here when available.

Below is the Certificate of Demonstrated Competence report made available online by the State Department per Section 712 of the Department of State Authorities Act, Fiscal Year 2017:

SUBJECT: Ambassadorial Nomination: Certificate of Demonstrated Competence — Foreign Service Act, Section 304(a)(4)

POST: Canada

CANDIDATE: Kelly Craft

Kelly Craft is a leader in civic engagement in Kentucky and also a successful businesswoman who is actively engaged in support of the Republican Party at the state and national levels. While raising two children, Mrs. Craft not only ran her own marketing and management consulting firm, Kelly G. Knight LLC, but also found the time to make community engagement a focus of her personal endeavors. She has served in leadership roles with numerous civic organizations, including the Salvation Army of Lexington and the Center for Rural Development, a nonprofit dedicated to economic development in rural Kentucky. Mrs. Craft also has a deep commitment to improving education, serving on the University of Kentucky Board of Trustees and co-founding the Morehead State University Craft Academy for Excellence in Science and Mathematics. Her demonstrated leadership skills in civic matters, her management experience and business acumen, and her deep understanding of critical social and political issues, make Mrs. Craft well qualified to serve as the United States Ambassador to Canada.

Mrs. Craft has previously served in a variety of roles in the political context, including as an Executive Committee Member of the Republican Governors Association (2015-Present) and as the Kentucky Finance Chair (2005-Present) and National Finance Vice Chair (2015-2016) of the Republican National Committee. In 2007, under President George W. Bush, Mrs. Craft also served in a significant public policy position as the U.S. alternate delegate to the United Nations General Assembly. In a civic engagement capacity, she has also been a Member of the Board for the Kentucky Arts Council, the YMCA of Central Kentucky, and the United Way of the Bluegrass.

Mrs. Craft received her B.A. from the University of Kentucky. She is being awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Morehead State University in May 2017.

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Sen. Menendez Asks the Consular Affairs Nominee the Questions Y’All Wanna Ask

Posted: 1:26 pm PT

 

The Trump nominee to be Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday (see July 18 SFRC Hearing: Carl Risch to be Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs). There were four nominees during the hour and a half hearing chaired by Senator Ron Johnson, so basically 22.5 minutes for each nominee although the CT and CA nominees got most of the more substantial questions.

(click image to see the video)

Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) reminded Mr. Risch of his old congressional testimony advocating for the transfer of visa function to DHS in 2002 (see Ex-FSO Who Once Advocated Moving Visas to DHS May be the Next Asst Secretary For Consular Affairs). The exchange between Menendez and Risch starts at 00:45:50 via C-SPAN video here.

Senator Menendez started by congratulating all the nominees then quoted from Mr. Risch’s old testimony: “Congratulations to all of you. Mr. Risch in 2007 you appeared before the House Subcommittee on Government Reform. In a hearing, you said during my tenure as unit chief I adjudicated approximately 25,000 visa applications. I resigned in May of 2002 even though I received top evaluation and a challenging assignment. While I longed to return to my private practice, I was discouraged by the State Department’s lack of dedication to the enforcement of laws. I took my job very seriously. The State Department did not.”

Senator Menendez then asked: “Do you believe the State Department isn’t  committed to rule of law and national security of the United States?”

Mr. Risch’s response:

“Thank you senator, for the question and for the opportunity to address that testimony. The testimony was in 2002, not in 2007. It was 15 years ago that that testimony took place. It was during the time that the Department of Homeland Security was just being stood up. I believe a lot has changed at the State Department in 15 years. I’m enthusiastic about the future the way the bureau will be fulfilling its function with interagency cooperation, continuous vetting.”

Senator Menendez did not let him off the hook and asked again, “Do you believe the State Department is committed to the rule of law and the national security of the United States?”

Mr. Risch responded, Currently senator, I absolutely do.”

The NJ senator started talking about refugee and migration issues then asked Mr. Risch, “So do you believe that the Department of Homeland Security, which is notoriously bloated with a whole host of dysfunctional components, should be responsible still to have the visa, the very essence of the department you’re being nominated to, to be transferred to the Department of Homeland Security?”

Mr. Risch’s response:

“Well, 15 years ago, senator, I stand behind my testimony. It was a completely different time. And there were a lot of talk about consolidating different things into the Department of Homeland Security. Currently, I watched the Deputy Secretary testify yesterday that it’s currently not the intent of the Department of State —”

This is in reference to Deputy Secretary Sullivan’s testimony from Monday, at the same panel, about State not having an intention to transfer the consular function to DHS.  Senator Menendez cut him off saying “I’m not asking what their intent, I’m asking your view. You’re nominated for this position.”

This is Mr. Risch’s response:

“My view is I would … I follow the leadership of Department of State if confirmed. But as of today, I intend to lead the Bureau of Consular Affairs as it is currently formed. I believe that I will be, if confirmed a strong leader of all functions of the consular bureau including the visa function.” 

 

 

 

There’s something about Mr. Risch’s response that’s not very comforting to our ears. You, too? Maybe it’s the use of the word “currently” as “at the present time,” as in “now.” Maybe, that’s just his favorite word. Maybe it indicates that he does not have a solid view about a U.S. Government agency’s commitment to the rule of law and national security of this country.

To the question about his belief whether the State Department is committed to the rule of law and national security of the United States, Mr. Risch responded with “I absolutely do,” but he prefaced that response with “currently.” He used the same word when talking about the intent of the State Department, and in describing the bureau he is nominated to lead.

The use of the word “currently” implies that things might change. Does he know something we don’t? What he believes now, may not be what he believes next month, or next year. If the White House decides to move the visa function to DHS, and the State Department’s intent changes, Mr. Risch will “follow the leadership” at State. Then he will be back in the Senate to explain, “Currently, the State Department believe it is best to …”

For what it’s worth, we asked somebody who previously worked with Mr. Risch at an overseas post and the one feedback we got though brief was complimentary.

Mr. Risch’s prepared testimony is available here (pdf).

If confirmed, Mr. Risch would succeed career diplomat Michele Thoren Bond who served as Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs from 2015-2017.

Below is a brief summary of the position and the previous appointees to this office via history.state.gov:

Assistant Secretaries of State for Consular Affairs

The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 (Jun 27, 1952; P.L. 82-414; 66 Stat. 174) established within the Department of State a Bureau of Security and Consular Affairs, headed by an Administrator with rank equal to that of an Assistant Secretary. From Mar 1 to Dec 30, 1954, the Bureau was renamed “Inspection, Security, and Consular Affairs.” From 1953 to 1962, the Secretary of State designated incumbents to this position. The Migration and Refugee Assistance Act of 1962 (Jun 28, 1962; P.L. 87-510; 76 Stat. 123) made the Administrator a Presidential appointee subject to the advice and consent of the Senate. In 1962, the Department transferred the security function to the Deputy Under Secretary for Administration, but the title remained unchanged until 1977, when the Foreign Relations Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1978 (Aug 17, 1977; P.L. 95-105; 91 Stat. 847) changed the Administrator’s title to “Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs.” This title has been given in full in all subsequent commissions to this office.

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Trump to Nominate Amb. Jon Huntsman, Jr. to be U.S. Ambassador to Russia

Posted: 1:57 am ET
Updated: July 20, 9:48 am PT

 

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July 19 SFRC Hearing: Sharon L. Day to be U.S. Ambassador to Costa Rica

Posted: 1:44 am ET

 

Today, the SFRC is holding a confirmation hearing on the nomination of Sharon L. Day to be the U.S. Ambassador to Costa Rica.

Date: Wednesday, July 19, 2017
Time: 02:00 PM
Location: SD-419
Presiding: Senator Rubio

The live video and the prepared testimony will be posted here when available.

Below is the report submitted to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee:

SUBJECT: Ambassadorial Nomination: Certificate of Demonstrated Competence — Foreign Service Act, Section 304(a)(4)

POST: Republic of Costa Rica

CANDIDATE: Sharon L. Day

Sharon L. Day, served most recently as Co-Chair of the Republican National Committee (RNC), having been first elected in January 2011 and reelected in 2013 and 2015. She has been actively engaged in serving the Republican Party at the local, state and national level for more than twenty years. She is also active as a political columnist and commentator. Earlier in her career she was the Chief Executive Officer and Vice President of Marketing of Stop Loss International, Indianapolis, Indiana. Ms. Day also has been active in community service, include as Housing Authority Chair for the Broward County Housing Authority and as Commissioner on the Florida Commission on the Status of Women. Her extensive travel as Co-Chair of the RNC found her engaging and speaking on a wide range of political, economic, and social policy issues. That experience, coupled with her experience in business and institutional management, her leadership in service to her community, and her role as a public figure dealing with media and citizens of all walks of life, make her well-qualified to serve as U.S. Ambassador to Costa Rica.

Previously, Ms. Day was the Republican National Committee Secretary (2009-2011). She has served as a member of the Broward County, Florida, Republican Executive Committee since 1994 and as State Committeewoman from Broward County since 1996. She was appointed by Governor Jeb Bush to serve on the Committee for Election Reform for the State of Florida following the election recount in 2000. Ms. Day has promoted diversity with the Republican Party empowering and encouraging more women candidates and working with state parties across the country.

Ms. Day attended the San Antonio Community College Business School and was awarded a Business Administration Certificate in 1970.

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U.S. Senate Confirms William F. Hagerty IV as U.S. Ambassador to Japan

Once a year, we ask for your support to keep this blog going. We’re running our fundraising campaign until Saturday, July 15.  Help Us Get to Year 10!

Posted: 1:59 am ET

 

On July 13, the U.S. Senate confirmed the nomination of William Hagerty IV to be the U.S. Ambassador to Japan. He succeeds Caroline Bouvier Kennedy (1957–) who served at the US Embassy Tokyo from November 19, 2013 to January 2017. See related posts:

Other previous appointees to this position include career and political appointees like Howard Henry Baker Jr. (1925–2014)Walter F. Mondale (1928–)Michael Joseph Mansfield (1903–2001)Douglas MacArthur II (1909–1997) and Ural Alexis Johnson (1908–1997) to name a few.

Only 6 of the last 15 appointments as Ambassador to Japan since the 1950’s were career diplomats:  Ural Alexis Johnson (1908–1997)Armin Henry Meyer (1914–2006)Douglas MacArthur II (1909–1997)John Moore Allison (1905–1978)Robert Daniel Murphy (1894–1978) and Michael Hayden Armacost (1937–).  According to history.state.gov, the last career diplomat sent as ambassador to Japan was Michael Hayden Armacost (1937–) who served from May 15, 1989–July 19, 1993. With the latest confirmation, it has now been 24 years since a career diplomat was appointed and confirmed as chief of mission at U.S. Embassy Tokyo.

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Trump to Nominate Lewis M. Eisenberg to be Ambassador to Italy and San Marino

Once a year, we ask for your support to keep this blog going. We’re running our fundraising campaign until Saturday, July 15.  We could use your help right about now — Help Us Get to Year 10!

Posted: 1:09 am ET

 

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