EUR’s Wess Mitchell Quits, New Acting EUR A/S Millard Reportedly to Retire 2/22

Posted: 1:57 am EST

Big news last week was the soon to be departure of EUR’s Assistant Secretary Wess Mitchell who is leaving his post after some 15 months on the job. A/S Mitchell took office in October 2017 and is resigning from his appointment effective February 15. The State Department announced that the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary (PDAS) Elisabeth Millard will serve as Acting A/S for the European and Eurasian Affairs. We’re not sure how long she will be in that acting capacity as we understand that her paperwork has been submitted to retire on February 22. The bureau appears to have six career DASes, two special envoys (one career, one noncareer), and one vacancy (Coordinator of U.S. Assistance to Europe and Eurasia  – is this a newly created position?). In any case, let us know when you know who will be the next Acting A/S.

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@SecPompeo Appoints Elliott Abrams, Iran-Contra Figure to “Help” Restore Democracy in Venezuela

Posted: 3:35 am EST

 

On January 25, Secretary Pompeo announced that he was “incredibly excited” that Elliot Abrams “a seasoned, principled, and tough-minded foreign policy veteran is joining our State Department team.” Pompeo cited Abrams’ work during the Reagan years as  “former assistant secretary of state for human rights and humanitarian affairs and as assistant secretary for inter-American affairs.” He also cited Abrams service under President George W. Bush where the new special envoy previously “served on the National Security Council as the senior director for democracy, human rights, and international affairs; senior director for North African and Near East affairs; and deputy national security adviser for global democracy strategy.”

Pompeo told reporters that “Elliott will be a true asset to our mission to help the Venezuelan people fully restore democracy and prosperity to their country.”

Left unmentioned was Independent Counsel Lawrence Walsh’s Iran/Contra report which notes that Elliott Abrams — “Pleaded guilty October 7, 1991, to two misdemeanor charges of withholding information from Congress about secret government efforts to support the Nicaraguan contra rebels during a ban on such aid. U.S. District Chief Judge Aubrey E. Robinson, Jr., sentenced Abrams November 15, 1991, to two years probation and 100 hours community service. Abrams was pardoned December 24, 1992.” (see Summary of Prosecutions xxiii and Chapter 25 U.S. v. Elliott Abrams 375).

Meanwhile, National Security Adviser John Bolton, also could not contain his excitement, tweeting: “Pleased to hear that my good friend Elliott Abrams is rejoining State as Special Envoy for Venezuela. Welcome back to the fight.”

On January 27, Secretary Pompeo also issued the following statement on the appointment of Carlos Alfredo Vecchio as the Chargé d’Affaires of the Government of Venezuela to the United States:

The United States accepted interim President Juan Guaido’s designation of Carlos Alfredo Vecchio as the Chargé d’Affaires of the Government of Venezuela to the United States on January 25. Mr. Vecchio will have authority over diplomatic affairs in the United States on behalf of Venezuela.

After his accreditation, Mr. Vecchio met with Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale, who reaffirmed the United States’ strong support for interim President Guaido’s leadership of Venezuela. The United States looks forward to working with Mr. Vecchio and other diplomatic staff as designated by interim President Guaido.

 

And here is a blast from the past, a 1995 video from a Rose show of Friday 03/31/1995 with then Representative Robert Torricelli, former Assistant Secretary of State Elliott Abrams, and journalist Allan Nairn discuss the potentially illegal intervention in the Guatemalan military:

Former DocuSign CEO Keith Krach to be Under Secretary of State  for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment (E)

Posted: 4:04 am EST

On January 18, the WH announced the president’s intent to nominate former CEO of DocuSign Keith Krach to be the State Department’s Under Secretary of State  for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment (E), to be the U.S. Alternate Governor for six international banks, and as Board of Director Member for OPIC. Below via the WH:

Keith Krach of California, to be:

  • Under Secretary of State  for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment
  • United States Alternate Governor of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
  • United States Alternate Governor to the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development
  • United States Alternate Governor to the Inter-American Development Bank
  • United States Alternate Governor of the African Development Bank
  • United States Alternate Governor of the African Development Fund
  • United States Alternate Governor of the Asian Development Bank
  • A Member of the Board of Directors of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation
    Mr. Krach is Chairman and former CEO of DocuSign, and was also the co-founder, Chairman, and CEO of Ariba.  Prior to that, Mr. Krach was Chief Operating Officer of Rasna Corporation and served as the first Entrepreneur and CEO-in-Residence for Benchmark Capital.  Mr. Krach began his career at General Motors.  Mr. Krach served as Chairman of Purdue University’s Board of Trustees, Chairman of Angie’s List, and is Chairman of the DocuSign Impact Foundation.  He received his B.S. and Honorary Doctorate in Engineering from Purdue University and an M.B.A. from Harvard University.

The Under Secretary of State  for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment oversees the following functional bureaus at the State Department.

Per history.state.gov, on Jul 13, 1972, Congress established separate and permanent positions at the Under Secretary of State level for Economic Affairs and for Political Affairs, in the Foreign Relations Authorization Act (P.L. 92-352; 86 Stat. 490). On Aug 16, 1985, Congress changed the title to include Agricultural Affairs (P.L. 99-93; 99 Stat. 405). The Under Secretary for Economic and Agricultural Affairs serves as the principal adviser to the Secretary and Deputy Secretary (previously Under Secretary) on matters relating to foreign economic and commercial policy. Specified duties, responsibilities, and assignments have varied over time. Each incumbent is commissioned with a functional designation as part of his title. On May 12, 1994, the title was changed to “Under Secretary of State for Economic, Business, and Agricultural Affairs.” On December 8, 2011, the title was changed to “Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment.”

Going back to 1946, out of the 18 previous appointees, only two career diplomats have ever been appointed as “E” under secretary  (Mann and Larson).  This non-career nomination for the “E” bureau is not surprising. If confirmed, Mr. Krach would succeed Catherine A. Novelli who was Vice-President of Worldwide Government Affairs at Apple prior to her 2013 nomination.

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White House Submits Some @StateDept/Related Agencies Re-nominations to the Senate

Posted: 4:52 am EST

Via WH, January 16, 2019

 

STATE DEPARTMENT

Brian J. Bulatao, of Texas, to be an Under Secretary of State (Management), vice Patrick Francis Kennedy.

David Schenker, of New Jersey, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (Near Eastern Affairs), vice Anne W. Patterson, resigned.

David Stilwell, of Hawaii, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (East Asian and Pacific Affairs), vice Daniel R. Russel.

Stephen Akard, of Indiana, to be Director of the Office of Foreign Missions, with the rank of Ambassador, vice Gentry O. Smith, resigned.

Marshall Billingslea, of Virginia, to be an Under Secretary of State (Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights), vice Sarah Sewall, resigned.

R. Clarke Cooper, of Florida, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (Political-Military Affairs), vice Puneet Talwar, resigned.

Robert A. Destro, of Virginia, to be Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, vice Tomasz P. Malinowski.

Jeffrey L. Eberhardt, of Wisconsin, a Career Member of the Senior Executive Service, to be Special Representative of the President for Nuclear Nonproliferation, with the rank of Ambassador.

Ronald Mortensen, of Utah, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (Population, Refugees, and Migration), vice Anne Claire Richard.

Kimberly Breier, of Virginia, to be a Member of the Board of Directors of the Inter-American Foundation for a term expiring September 20, 2020, vice Adolfo A. Franco, term expired.

 

AMBASSADORS/POLITICAL

John P. Abizaid, of Nevada, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Lynda Blanchard, of Alabama, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Slovenia.

Joseph Cella, of Michigan, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Fiji, and to serve concurrently and without additional compensation as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Kiribati, the Republic of Nauru, the Kingdom of Tonga, and Tuvalu.

Edward F. Crawford, of Ohio, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Ireland.

David T. Fischer, of Michigan, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Kingdom of Morocco.

Kenneth S. George, of Texas, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Oriental Republic of Uruguay.

Jeffrey Ross Gunter, of California, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Iceland.

Kenneth A. Howery, of Texas, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Kingdom of Sweden.

Ronald Douglas Johnson, of Florida, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of El Salvador.

Doug Manchester, of California, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.

Lana J. Marks, of Florida, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of South Africa.

John Rakolta Jr., of Michigan, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the United Arab Emirates.

Leandro Rizzuto, of New Jersey, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Barbados, and to serve concurrently and without additional compensation as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Antigua and Barbuda, the Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

Donald R. Tapia, of Arizona, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Jamaica.

Christine J. Toretti, of Pennsylvania, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Malta.

Adrian Zuckerman, of New Jersey, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Romania.

 

AMBASSADORS/CAREER

Kate Marie Byrnes, 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 Macedonia.

Michael J. Fitzpatrick, of Virginia, 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 Ecuador.

W. Patrick Murphy, of Vermont, 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 Kingdom of Cambodia.

Daniel N. Rosenblum, of Maryland, a Career Member of the Senior Executive Service, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Uzbekistan.

Matthew H. Tueller, of Utah, 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 Iraq.

Note: There appears to be three career diplomats on the Executive Calendar whose nominations have not been resubmitted to the Senate with this list (Robert K. Scott for Republic of Malawi; Francisco Luis Palmieri for Honduras, and Joseph E. Macmanus for Colombia). Also many more names that were pending in the SFRC last year that we expected to see renominated but as of this writing, the White House has not done so except for a couple nominees. It could just be a matter of time. We expected this list to come out the first week of January, and the names were only sent to the Senate on January 16. We’ll be in the look out for that other long list. 

USUN

Andrew P. Bremberg, of Virginia, to be Representative of the United States of America to the Office of the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva, with the rank of Ambassador.

Kip Tom, of Indiana, for the rank of Ambassador during his tenure of service as U.S. Representative to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture.

BBG

Michael Pack, of Maryland, to be Chief Executive Officer of the Broadcasting Board of Governors for the term of three years.  (New Position)

USAID

John Barsa, of Florida, to be an Assistant Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, vice Marcela Escobari.

Mina Chang, of Texas, to be an Assistant Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, vice Jonathan Nicholas Stivers.

Richard C. Parker, of North Carolina, to be an Assistant Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, vice T. Charles Cooper, resigned.

PEACE CORPS

Alan R. Swendiman, of North Carolina, to be Deputy Director of the Peace Corps, vice Carlos J. Torres.

 

EXPORT-IMPORT BANK

Spencer Bachus, III, of Alabama, to be Member of the Board of Directors of the Export-Import Bank of the United States for a term expiring January 20, 2023, vice Patricia M. Loui, term expired.

Claudia Slacik, of New York, to be a Member of the Board of Directors of the Export-Import Bank of the United States for a term expiring January 20, 2023, vice Sean Robert Mulvaney.

Kimberly A. Reed, of West Virginia, to be President of the Export-Import Bank of the United States for a term expiring January 20, 2021, vice Fred P. Hochberg, resigned.

OPIC

Irving Bailey, of Florida, to be a Member of the Board of Directors of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation for a term expiring December 17, 2021, vice Matthew Maxwell Taylor Kennedy, term expired.

Christopher P. Vincze, of Massachusetts, to be a Member of the Board of Directors of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation for a term expiring December 17, 2019, vice Todd A. Fisher, term expired.

MCC

Alexander Crenshaw, of Florida, to be a Member of the Board of Directors of the Millennium Challenge Corporation for a term of three years, vice Mark Green, term expired.

George M. Marcus, of California, to be a Member of the Board of Directors of the Millennium Challenge Corporation for a term of three years, vice Morton H. Halperin, term expired.

WHO: Brett P. Giroir, of Texas, to be Representative of the United States on the Executive Board of the World Health Organization, vice Thomas Frieden.

IMF: Mark Rosen, of Connecticut, to be United States Executive Director of the International Monetary Fund for a term of two years, vice Margrethe Lundsager, resigned.

OSCE: James S. Gilmore, of Virginia, to be U.S. Representative to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, with the rank of Ambassador.

OSCD: Pamela Bates, of Virginia, to be Representative of the United States of America to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, with the rank of Ambassador.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Despite shutdown, Pompeo to go on with ambassadors conference to meet his 180+ field commanders, to look them in the eye

Also, who’s fast depleting  Diplomatic Security’s residual funds?

 

Secretary Pompeo told reporters at his stop in Abu Dhabi that morale at the State Department is good despite the shutdown (see Pompeo says “morale is good”. C’mon now, it’s swaggeryfuck good!). It’s so good that despite the shutdown, and State Department personnel being furloughed or working with no pay, he will still host the ambassadors’ conference, officially called the Global Chiefs of Mission Conference in D.C. next week. Via AP:

“It’s something that we’ve had teed up for a while,” he said. “It is incredibly important that they hear directly from me. It’s an important opportunity for me to get in front of 180-plus of my commanders in the field to look them in the eye and describe to them what it is we’re doing and how it is I expect them to do that.”
[…]
Almost half of the State Department employees in the United States and about one-quarter abroad have been furloughed during the shutdown. With the exception of certain local employees overseas, the rest are working without pay, including those tasked with supporting Pompeo’s trip, which has thus far taken him to Jordan, Iraq, Egypt and Bahrain.

An excerpt from Secretary Pompeo’s January 11 message to agency employees posted on the state.gov website also says this:

We are also committed to hosting the Global Chiefs of Mission Conference in Washington, D.C. next week. Bringing together the men and women who lead our overseas diplomatic missions is essential to successfully achieving our unified mission of advancing America’s foreign policy.

Even though the Secretary’s people are quite prolific, that’s  the only Miles With Mike update we’ve seen posted online. The message is posted under  the “M” press releases but not even clearly labeled. We are guessing that we’re seeing this in the public website because furloughed employees do not have access to their government email.

In any case, the State Department — despite the poor, no good, terrible optics — will go on with the Global Chiefs of Mission conference come rain or shine, shutdown or not, rapture or not, pay or no pay. Below via FP:

The State Department has decided to move forward with a major conference for all U.S. chiefs of mission and ambassadors abroad—there are 188—who will descend on Washington from Jan. 15 to 18 for a slew of meetings and receptions. Organizing the conference is a massive logistical undertaking, and bureaus at the State Department are pulling in furloughed employees to work overtime, with no pay, to set up the conference.
[…]
The spokesman noted travel for conference was arranged and funded prior to the government shutdown. The spokesperson called the timing of the conference “crucial to the safety, security, and prosperity of the United States” and added: “Given that the Senate has just confirmed 23 ambassadors, this conference is particularly important and timely in helping them get off to the right start as they assume their duties immediately.”

Just because this was funded before the shutdown, doesn’t mean they absolutely must go on with it during the shutdown. Are they afraid that this shutdown will go on for years, and there will not be a 2019 GCOM conference? The spox called the timing of this conference “crucial to the safety, security, and prosperity of the United States”, then my golly, what do we call the timing of the shutdown that’s now entering its fourth week?

Also the latest ambassador confirmations — except for the two going to Australia and Kenya respectively, are all career diplomats who are not going on their first overseas appointments. Using them as an excuse is just lame, yo!

As of January 4, President Trump has made 136 ambassadorial appointments (67 political and 69 career appointees).  The State Department’s new  Furlough Guidance notes the pay status/exception for Presidential Appointees:

According to OPM, individuals appointed by the President, with or without Senate confirmation, who otherwise are not subject to 5 U.S.C. 6301 and attendant regulations governing leave in the Federal service, are not subject to furlough. The salary of such a Presidential appointee is an obligation incurred by the year, without consideration of hours of duty required. Thus, the Presidential appointee cannot be placed in a nonduty, nonpay status. If a Presidential appointee, however, chooses to be in a nonpay status, the appointee may return part of his salary to the employing agency, provided that the agency has authority to accept gifts, or to the Treasury. Regardless of the Presidential appointee’s choice, the appointee’s entire salary is recorded for tax purposes. The following exceptions must be noted: former career Senior Executive Service (SES) appointees who took appointments at level V of the Executive Schedule or higher and elected to retain SES leave benefits under 5 U.S.C. 3392(c), are subject to furlough at the discretion of the agency. Also, Presidential appointees to positions requiring Senate confirmation, for example ambassadors, who choose to retain SFS/SES pay and benefits are subject to furlough at the discretion of the responsible Assistant Secretary, e.g. when absent on leave.

So the political appointees attending this big do in D.C. will be on paid status, while career appointees including approximately 50 chargé d’affaires are possibly deemed onduty and on nonpay status. All participants are flying to D.C., staying at DC hotels, and will have meal & incidental expenses paid for. The event will be supported by either employees working with no pay, or furloughed employees recalled “to work overtime, with no pay, to set up the conference.”

Of course, we can imagine that the support staff will be pumping with pride and joy — and who wouldn’t?

Here they are living the life they’ve always wanted, their dysfunctional government without care is in shutdown, they’re working with no pay, and they are supporting the 70th secretary of state meeting his 180-plus commanders in the field so he can look them in the eye, before he send them off to battle.  Or something. There will be talks, and at some “glitzy cocktail receptions at four-star hotels” (reportedly not organized or paid for by the State Department), there will be food, and drinks for the guests and the field commanders. There will be photos, of course, except — wait, are official photographers considered “essential” for this event?

If morale is “good” now, we can imagine it will be fuckityfuck great when this is all over. Now, you don’t need a survey to know that so no need to hire $M-dollar consultants to perform a survey on morale after the GCOM.

Meanwhile, about the Diplomatic Security’s residual funds …

We’ve blogged previously about what accounts are funded at the State Department during the shutdown.  One of those funded is Diplomatic Security which has already urged begged posts for the “prudent use of overtime” to slow down the drawdown of its residual funding. We don’t’ know how much “available balance” is there in this bureau.  But we’ve wondered out loud (others quietly) how long will the State Department be able to pay for its local employees including local security guards at 277 overseas posts without regular funding? See #TrumpShutdown Enters 18th Day, At Least $2.5B in Costs and Counting, With No End in Sight. For potential cascading impact if Diplomatic Security is unable to make payroll for guards, see What happens after pay period #26?

Secretary Pompeo has been on foreign travel from January 8-15. The trip is taking him and his wife to 1) Amman, Jordan; 2) Baghdad, Iraq; 3) Erbil, Iraq; 4) Cairo, Egypt; 5) Manama, Bahrain; 6) Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; 7) Doha, Qatar; 8) Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; 9) Muscat, Oman; and 10) Kuwait City, Kuwait.

Not only are essential/not paid employees supporting this travel, Diplomatic Security agents from the State Department and at these overseas locations must be racking up their overtime. How much overtime? Somebody please FOIA that.

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Senate Returns @StateDept Nominations to the President

Updated: Jan 5, 5:19 pm PST

Prior to adjournment of the 115th Congress, the U.S. Senate returned the following State Department and related agencies’ nominations to the President under its Senate Rule. Note that some of the links posted from the floor activity site are not working on the congress.gov website as it changes to the current congress. We’re leaving the links “as is” on purpose should readers want to search the nomination on the congress.gov site. Use the radio button to select “Nomination” and enter the PN number on the search bar to see additional details for each nomination.

We anticipate that most of these nominees will be renominated. Will do a follow-up post when it happens.

STATE DEPARTMENT

PN2139: Brian J. Bulatao, of Texas, to be an Under Secretary of State (Management)– Returned to the President under the provisions of Senate Rule XXXI, paragraph 6 of the Standing Rules of the Senate.
PN2444: Marshall Billingslea, of Virginia, to be an Under Secretary of State (Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights)– Returned to the President under the provisions of Senate Rule XXXI, paragraph 6 of the Standing Rules of the Senate
PN1762: Stephen Akard, of Indiana, to be Director of the Office of Foreign Missions, with the rank of Ambassador– Returned to the President under the provisions of Senate Rule XXXI, paragraph 6 of the Standing Rules of the Senate.
PN1769: David Schenker, of New Jersey, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (Near Eastern Affairs)– Returned to the President under the provisions of Senate Rule XXXI, paragraph 6 of the Standing Rules of the Senate.
PN2580: David Stilwell, of Hawaii, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (East Asian and Pacific Affairs)– Returned to the President under the provisions of Senate Rule XXXI, paragraph 6 of the Standing Rules of the Senate.
PN2207: Robert A. Destro, of Virginia, to be Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor– Returned to the President under the provisions of Senate Rule XXXI, paragraph 6 of the Standing Rules of the Senate.
PN2232: R. Clarke Cooper, of Florida, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (Political-Military Affairs)– Returned to the President under the provisions of Senate Rule XXXI, paragraph 6 of the Standing Rules of the Senate.
PN2029: Ronald Mortensen, of Utah, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (Population, Refugees, and Migration)– Returned to the President under the provisions of Senate Rule XXXI, paragraph 6 of the Standing Rules of the Senate.

AMBASSADORS

PN1379: Leandro Rizzuto, of New Jersey, to be Ambassador to Barbados, and to serve concurrently and without additional compensation as Ambassador to the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Antigua and Barbuda, the Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines– Returned to the President under the provisions of Senate Rule XXXI, paragraph 6 of the Standing Rules of the Senate.
PN1384: Doug Manchester, of California, to be Ambassador to the Commonwealth of The Bahamas– Returned to the President under the provisions of Senate Rule XXXI, paragraph 6 of the Standing Rules of the Senate.
PN1768: Kenneth S. George, of Texas, to be Ambassador to the Oriental Republic of Uruguay– Returned to the President under the provisions of Senate Rule XXXI, paragraph 6 of the Standing Rules of the Senate.
PN1638: Joseph Cella, of Michigan, to be Ambassador to the Republic of Fiji, and to serve concurrently and without additional compensation as Ambassador to the Republic of Kiribati, the Republic of Nauru, the Kingdom of Tonga, and Tuvalu– Returned to the President under the provisions of Senate Rule XXXI, paragraph 6 of the Standing Rules of the Senate.
PN2021: John Rakolta, Jr., of Michigan, to be Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates– Returned to the President under the provisions of Senate Rule XXXI, paragraph 6 of the Standing Rules of the Senate.

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115th Congress Final Day: Some Senate Confirmations

On January 2, the final day of the 15th Congress, the U.S. Senate did one mass confirmation of State Department, USAID and UN nominees. We’re going by the names tweeted by the Senate Cloakroom on Jan. 2 as there does not yet appear to be a list of the confirmed nominees. We previously posted the names pending on the Executive Calendar waiting for full Senate votes, see our post: Yo Wanna Spank Schumer But Not @Senatemajldr McConnell For Non-Confirmation of Ambassadors? Very Unfair!

All career ambassador nominees, with four exceptions, were confirmed. For political ambassador nominations, only two out of seven were confirmed (Australia and Kenya made it through). Two USAID and one UNFAO nominees also did not get their full Senate votes.

Based on that Executive Calendar list, we note that the following names were not/not included in the mass confirmation tweeted by @SenateCloakroom. Sometime tomorrow or the next day, we expect that these names, as well as those pending on the SFRC will be returned to the White House per Senate Rule. Most of the nominations that did not get a Senate vote today, and those pending in committee will most probably be renominated by the President within the next few days. We will have a separate posts if/when these nominees are renominated.

DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Stephen Akard, of Indiana, to be Director of the Office of Foreign Missions, with the rank of Ambassador, vice Gentry O. Smith, resigned.

AMBASSADORS (CAREER)
Robert K. Scott, of Maryland, 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 Republic of Malawi.

Francisco Luis Palmieri, of Connecticut, 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 Honduras

Daniel N. Rosenblum, of Maryland, a Career Member of the Senior Executive Service, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Uzbekistan

Joseph E. Macmanus, of New York, 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 Colombia.

AMBASSADORS (POLITICAL)
Jeffrey Ross Gunter, of California, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Iceland.

Lynda Blanchard, of Alabama, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Slovenia

Donald R. Tapia, of Arizona, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Jamaica.

Joseph Cella, of Michigan, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Fiji, and to serve concurrently and without additional compensation as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Kiribati, the Republic of Nauru, the Kingdom of Tonga, and Tuvalu.

Kenneth S. George, of Texas, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Oriental Republic of Uruguay.

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Yo Wanna Spank Schumer But Not @Senatemajldr McConnell For Non-Confirmation of Ambassadors? Very Unfair!

It looks like the President of the United States is ending 2018 by ranting that “heads of countries” are calling and asking why Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer “is not approving their otherwise approved Ambassadors.” Well, first, to be clear, if they are really calling the WH asking about this, they would not be calling about “their otherwise approved ambassadors” because that would mean, these countries are calling about “their” ambassadors representing them in Washington. As far as we know, the U.S. Senate is not the entity that grants agrément for foreign diplomats to be appointed to the United States.

The president appears to be talking about U.S. Ambassadors nominated to foreign countries, which means, these are “our” ambassadors, and not these countries’ ambassadors even if they are assigned to these mysterious countries (whose “heads of countries” are um apparently “calling” and asking about stuff). If this is kinda confusing, try and imagine Saudi Arabia’s MBS or Turkey’s Erdogan calling the WH and asking what Schumer did to “their otherwise approved Ambassador” – that is, the Saudi Arabian and Turkish Ambassadors to the United States. They would not call the U.S. Ambassadors destined to their respective countries “their” ambassadors. We doubt if MBS would even call and ask what Schumer did to John Abizaid, Trump’s nominee to be the U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia. Why would he? He got you know who. Would Erdogan call and ask what Schumer did to Trump’s nominee to be U.S. Ambassador to Turkey? He wouldn’t, cmon. There isn’t one.

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1079830268708556800

Second, we should note that there are indeed multiple nominees pending on the Senate Calendar and waiting for their full Senate votes. Except for two nominations who are subjects to two Democratic Senate holds, the rest of the nominees have been waiting for GOP Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to put them up for a vote. Over the past year, the GOP appeared to prioritized the confirmation of judicial nominees. In the last 12 months, approximately 70 Judiciary nominees were confirmed while only about 47 State Department nominees were confirmed for the same duration (excluding USAID, UN, and Foreign Service lists).

We have a separate post on the nominations that are currently pending at the SFRC. We are anticipating that most of these nominees will be renominated at the beginning of the next Congress, and that most of them will probably get confirmation from the Senate given the GOP’s expanded majority in the 116th Congress. We don’t know how many more judicial nominees the GOP is planning to shovel through the confirmation process, however, but if there is a large enough number, those again could have an impact on the speed of confirmation for State Department nominees.

Below are the nominations pending in the Executive Calendar. May be there is a potential for the U.S. Senate to have mass confirmation of these nominations on January 2? You all can hope, right? We’ll have to wait and see. 

DEPARTMENT OF STATE

Carol Z. Perez, of Virginia, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of MinisterCounselor, to be Director General of the Foreign Service, vice Arnold A. Chacon, resigned.

Ellen E. McCarthy, of Virginia, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (Intelligence and Research), vice Daniel Bennett Smith.

Stephen Akard, of Indiana, to be Director of the Office of Foreign Missions, with the rank of Ambassador, vice Gentry O. Smith, resigned.

AMBASSADORS (CAREER)

Lynne M. Tracy, of Ohio, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of MinisterCounselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Armenia.

Christopher Paul Henzel, of Virginia, 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 Yemen.

Sarah-Ann Lynch, of Maryland, 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 Co-operative Republic of Guyana

Earle D. Litzenberger, of California, 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 Azerbaijan.

Matthew John Matthews, of Virginia, 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 Brunei Darussalam.

Michael S. Klecheski, of New York, 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 Mongolia.

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Presidential Casting: Heather Nauert to the UN

On December 7, President Trump announced via tweet his intent to nominate State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert to be the next Ambassador to the United Nations.  Ms. Nauert was previously a news correspondent and a Fox & Friends presenter prior to her appointment in Foggy Bottom. If confirmed, Ms. Nauert would replace Ambassador Nikki Haley who is expected to step down at the end of 2018. There is word that this position will once more be downgraded to a non-cabinet post after Haley’s departure. 

The U.S. Mission to the United Nations was formally established by E.O. 9844 of April 28, 1947. The Chief of Mission has the title of Representative of the U.S.A. to the United Nations, with the rank and status of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, and Representative of the U.S.A. in the Security Council of the United Nations. 

The first U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations was the 48th Secretary of State Edward Reilly Stettinius Jr. (1945-1946). According to history.state.gov:

As Secretary of State, Stettinius accompanied President Roosevelt to the Yalta Conference in February of 1945, where they met with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin to discuss issues such as the Pacific War with Japan, the future political status of Eastern Europe, and what should be done with Germany following its surrender. Stettinius also chaired the United States delegation to the United Nations Conference, held in San Francisco from April 25 to June 26, 1945, which brought together delegates from 50 Allied nations to create the United Nations. He resigned his position as Secretary of State on June 27, 1945, to become the first U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, a post which he held until resigning in June 1946 over what he saw as President Truman’s refusal to use the United Nations forum to resolve growing Soviet-American tensions.

Prior appointees to this position include Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. (1953–1960), a former senator and nominee for Vice President. He went on to four ambassadorial appointments and as personal representative of the president to the Holy See after his UN tenure. Former President George Herbert Walker Bush served as Representative of the U.S.A. to the United Nations from 1971 to 1973.

Career diplomat Charles Woodruff Yost (1969–1971) was a three-time ambassador with a personal rank of Career Ambassador prior to his UN appointment. Career diplomat Thomas Reeve Pickering (1989–1992) was a four-time ambassador, and assistant secretary of state with a personal rank of Career Ambassador prior to his appointment to the UN. John Dimitri Negroponte (2001–2004), a career diplomat served as an assistant secretary and was confirmed three times previously as ambassador prior to his appointment to the UN.

Madeleine Korbel Albright (1993–1997), the first woman Secretary of State previously served as chief legislative assistant to Senator Edmund Muskie (D-Me) from 1976 to 1978. From 1978 to 1981, she served as a staff member in the White House under President Jimmy Carter and on the National Security Council under National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski. Richard Charles Albert Holbrooke (1999–2001) served twice as assistant secretary of state and was an ambassador prior to his UN appointment. 

Folks are up in arms with this appointment for good reasons.  Sometimes — when the U.S. Senate actually takes seriously its exclusive right under Article II, Section 2 “to provide advice and consent” to the president on nominations — things do work out for the best and save us some embarrassment (remember the “tråkket i salaten”?). Other times, it doesn’t, unfortunately. But here’s the thing: this nominee is from presidential central casting; unless Trump changes his mind, this nomination is going forward. Also come January, there is an an enlarged Republican majority in the U.S. Senate.  It is likely that that she will get some hot grilling in the Senate from the Democratic side and the GOP will attempt to show some …um, equal fire in the process.  But it would take GOP senators to sink this nomination. And that’s probably not going to happen. 

Heather Nauert Nomination: Reactions