U.S. Senate Confirms Former @USUN Amb. Samantha Power as 19th @USAID Administrator

Once a year, we ask for your support to keep this blog and your dedicated blogger going. So here we are on Week #7 of our eight-week annual fundraising. Our previous funding ran out in August 2020. We recognize that blogging life has no certainty, and this year is no exception.  If you care what we do here, please see GFM: https://gofund.me/32671a27.  We could use your help. Grazie!  Merci! Gracias!

On April 28, the U.S. Senate confirmed the nomination of former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power as the 19th USAID Administrator. She succeeds Mark Green who served as USAID Administrator under the Trump Administration from August 7, 2017 – April 10, 2020.
Excerpt below from her prepared testimony at her confirmation hearing:

“If confirmed, I will work to strengthen the institution of USAID and invest in the capabilities of the Agency’s dedicated 10,000 foreign service officers, civil servants, locally-employed staff, contractors, and other personnel. This means seeking out and amplifying their insights, learning about specific local needs, and adapting our programs. It means urgently addressing the issues relating to diversity, equity, inclusion, and advancement within USAID’s workforce. And it means emphasizing what President Biden himself has stressed: Development is critical to America’s ability to tackle the toughest problems of our time—economic, humanitarian and geopolitical. 

In consultation with you and others in Congress, I will aim to ensure that USAID enhances its longstanding leadership in food security, education, women’s empowerment, and global health, while also addressing four interconnected and gargantuan challenges confronting the world at this moment:

● The COVID-19 pandemic: With decades of development gains shattered by COVID, imperiling progress on everything from food security to gender equality and access to education, USAID’s support to partners will be vital for recovery, including by building more robust and durable health infrastructure for the future.

● Climate Change: With the surge in droughts, storms, food shortages, and climate-associated humanitarian emergencies, USAID can help countries become more resilient, while supporting their efforts to reduce carbon emissions.

● Conflict and state collapse: With more conflicts occurring today than at any point since the end of the Cold War, USAID assistance will continue to mitigate suffering, while working with US diplomats and our international partners to address the root causes of such crises.

● Democratic backsliding: With freedom declining around the world for the fifteenth year in a row, USAID’s democracy, rights, anti-corruption, and governance programming must nimbly support democratic and civil society actors as they push back against creeping authoritarianism and seek to build lasting democratic institutions.

In tackling these and other challenges, I want to assure the Committee that I will work every day to expand burden-sharing in the international system. At the United Nations, working with my administration colleagues, I was able to help secure major commitments from other countries to care for refugees, respond to the Ebola epidemic, strengthen peacekeeping, and adopt the Sustainable Development Goals. US investments are catalysts that can be used to mobilize governments, international organizations, foundations, and businesses to help countries achieve their own development goals.

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SFRC Clears Victoria Nuland For State/P, Uzra Zeya For State/J

We are starting Week #6 of our eight-week annual fundraising. Our previous funding ran out in August 2020.  If you think what we do here is useful, we could use your help. Please see GFM: https://gofund.me/32671a27

 

PN120 — 117th Congress (2021-2022) — Victoria Nuland — Department of State
Victoria Nuland, of Virginia, to be an Under Secretary of State (Political Affairs), vice David Hale.
Date Received from President: 02/13/2021
Committee: Foreign Relations
Latest Action: 04/21/2021 – Placed on Senate Executive Calendar.
Calendar No. 66. (All Actions)
 PN241 — 117th Congress (2021-2022) — Uzra Zeya— Department of State
Uzra Zeya, of Virginia, to be an Under Secretary of State (Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights), vice Sarah Sewall, resigned.
Date Received from President: 03/09/2021
Committee: Foreign Relations
Latest Action: 04/21/2021 – Placed on Senate Executive Calendar.
Calendar No. 67. (All Actions)

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Confirmations: Bill Burns as CIA Director, Brian McKeon as State D/MR; Cancún Cruz Still a Hold on Sherman

 

On March 18, the U.S. Senate confirmed by voice vote the following nominations:
  • Executive Calendar #28, William Joseph Burns, of Maryland, to be Director of the Central Intelligence Agency
  • Executive Calendar #36, Brian P. McKeon, of the District of Columbia, to be Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources
The nomination of Wendy Sherman to be Deputy Secretary of State remains pending on the Executive Calendar with the reported hold placed on her nomination by  Cancún Cruz, a senator who will forever be remembered as either one of the heroes of the January 6 insurrection or one who fled to Mexico while his state froze.


 

 

SFRC Clears Sherman, McKeon Nominations; Cancún Cruz Announces Hold

13 GoingOn 14: Help Keep the Blog Going For 2021GFM: https://gofund.me/32671a27

Via senate.gov:

The senator from Texas has previously put a hold on the confirmation of Bill Burns as CIA Director.


 

 

Forty-Four Blind Mice on the Senate Floor

Note: This week feels like reliving the nightmare of January 6 but one could not just look away. It was a close call. Closer than we ever imagined. It was more than just an attack of the Capitol, it was an assault on our democracy. And forty-four senators want to just look away, hide under their desks and not have to deal with the insurrection that killed five people, wounded many, and could have resulted in the deaths of so many more. So I wrote the piece below for these blind mice disgracing the Senate floor.

–Domani Spero

 

Forty-Four Blind Mice on the Senate Floor

Day 1 of the Second Trump Impeachment Trial

 

The “world’s greatest deliberative body”
Is now the world’s most cowardly one.
The most cowardly one for all to see.
Lookit! Except Sasse, Toomey, Cassidy
Also Collins, Romney, and Murkowski.
Poor senators like three blind mice
Three blind ones times fourteen plus two.
Watch them willfully go blind, go blind
In the service of self, not country.
In a chamber still fresh from that mad kind.
See how they run. See how run.
Who cut off their spines with a carving knife?
Have you ever see such a sad sight in your life
As forty-four blind mice on the Senate floor?
–February 9, 2021

 


 

 

 

U.S. Senate Confirms Antony John Blinken as 71st Secretary of State

On January 26, 2021, the U.S. Senate confirmed Antony John Blinken, of New York, in a 78-22 vote to be Secretary of State. He will assume office as the 71st Secretary of State.
The 78 Senators who voted for confirmation includes Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) who voted to overturn the results of the 2020 elections. The 22 Senators who voted against the Blinken confirmation includes seven who voted to overturn the 2020 election results after the mob assaulted the U.S. Capitol on January 6.  This country has a short memory. We think that all reporting that includes these senators should always append an asterisk for the repugnant roles they took before and after that mob attack. 

 

Deputy Secretary Blinken Poses for a Photo With Former Deputy Secretaries Burns, Wharton, and Negroponte
Deputy Secretary of State Antony “Tony” Blinken poses for a photo with former Deputy Secretaries of State Bill Burns, Clifton Wharton, and John Negroponte at a Foreign Service Institute reception highlighting American diplomacy at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., on February 2, 2016. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]


 

SFRC Clears Blinken Nomination, Full Senate Vote on Tuesday, Jan 26

In a 15-3 vote, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee cleared the nomination of Tony Blinken on January 25 to be the next secretary of state. It looks like Senators John Barrasso (R-WY) and Rand Paul (R-KY) voted no on this nomination. Insurrectionist Senator Ted Cruz of Texas also voted no.
The full Senate is expected to vote on the Blinken nomination mid-day tomorrow, January 26. Foggy Bottom may see the 71st Secretary of State in Foggy Bottom by afternoon.

Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with Sesame Street’s “Grover” to talk about refugees at the United Nations in New York City, New York on September 19, 2016. [State Department Photo/Public Domain]


 

 

Confirmations: Kenna, Vajda, Higgins, Maloney, Story, McCarthy and 4 Foreign Service Lists

The U.S. Senate has adjourned with only pro forma sessions and no vote expected until Nov. 30. Prior to leaving town, it confirmed six ambassador nominations and four Foreign Service lists on November 18, 2020. The newly confirmed ambassadors are all career members of the Foreign Service but we expect that they would still submit courtesy resignations, as often the case, when the new Biden Administration takes office on January 20.
PERU: Executive Calendar #801, Lisa S. Kenna, of Vermont, 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 Peru.
BURMA: Executive Calendar #877, Thomas Laszlo Vajda, of Arizona, 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 Union of Burma.
BURUNDI: Executive Calendar #879, Melanie Harris Higgins, of Georgia, 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 Burundi.
ESWATINI: Executive Calendar #880, Jeanne Marie Maloney, 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 Kingdom of Eswatini.
VENEZUELA: Executive Calendar #882, James Broward Story, of South Carolina, 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 Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.
LIBERIA: Executive Calendar #884, Michael A. McCarthy, 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 Liberia.
FOREIGN SERVICE LISTS:
PN 2074
PN2174
PN 2075
PN 1704-2 (inadvertent typo corrected for TAGS)

 


 

Confirmations: Ambassadors to Indonesia, Uganda, Burkina Faso, Jordan, Guatemala, Estonia, USUN, OPCW, FS Lists, More

The following nominations were confirmed by the U.S. Senate on August 6, 2020:

2020-08-06 PN967 INDONESIA | Sung Y. Kim, 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 Republic of Indonesia.

2020-08-06 PN1035 UGANDA |  Natalie E. Brown, of Nebraska, 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 Uganda.

2020-08-06 PN1045 BURKINA FASO |  Sandra E. Clark, 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 Burkina Faso.

2020-08-06 PN1281 JORDAN | Henry T. Wooster, 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 Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

2020-08-06 PN1941 GUATEMALA |  William W. Popp, of Missouri, 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 Guatemala.

2020-08-06 PN1426 ESTONIA | William Ellison Grayson, of California, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Estonia.

2020-08-06 PN1339 USUN | Richard M. Mills, Jr., of Texas, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Representative of the United States of America to the Sessions of the General Assembly of the United Nations, during his tenure of service as Deputy Representative of the United States of America to the United Nations.

2020-08-06 PN1340  USUN | Richard M. Mills, Jr., of Texas, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be the Deputy Representative of the United States of America to the United Nations, with the rank and status of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary and the Deputy Representative of the United States of America in the Security Council of the United Nations.

2020-08-06 PN1229 Department of State/OPCW | Joseph Manso, of New York, 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 Representative to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

 

USAID

020-08-06 PN1337 United States Agency for International Development | Ramsey Coats Day, of Virginia, to be an Assistant Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development.

2020-08-06 PN1427 United States Agency for International Development | Jenny A. McGee, of Texas, to be an Associate Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development.

ASIAN DEVELOPMENT BANK

2020-08-06 PN1296 Asian Development Bank | Jason Myung-lk Chung, of Virginia, to be United States Director of the Asian Development Bank, with the rank of Ambassador.

2020-08-06 PN1280 European Bank for Reconstruction and Development |J. Steven Dowd, of Florida, to be United States Director of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

 

FOREIGN SERVICE S LISTS

2020-08-06 PN2067 Foreign Service | Nominations beginning Shefali Agrawal, and ending Michael B. Schooling, which 101 nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on June 29, 2020.

2020-08-06 PN2068 Foreign Service | Nominations beginning Anna Mae G. Akers, and ending Ismat Mohammad G. Omar Yassin, which 214 nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on June 29, 2020.

2020-08-06 PN2069 Foreign Service | Nominations beginning Jonathan Paul Ackley, and ending Amanda B. Whatley, which 43 nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on June 29, 2020.

2020-08-06 PN2070 Foreign Service | Nominations beginning Jeffrey Thomas Albanese, and ending Katherine Rose Woody, which 11 nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on June 29, 2020.

2020-08-06 PN2071 Foreign Service | Nominations beginning Erin Elizabeth McKee, and ending Dana Rogstad Mansuri, which 5 nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on June 29, 2020.

2020-08-06 PN2072 Foreign Service | Nominations beginning Lawrence J. Sacks, and ending Bruce F. McFarland, which 27 nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on June 29, 2020.

2020-08-06 PN2073 Foreign Service | Nominations beginning Deanna Scott, and ending Christopher Walker, which 3 nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on June 29, 2020.

2020-06-10 PN1704-1 Foreign Service | Nominations beginning Michael J. Adler, and ending Ivan A. Wray, which 206 nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on March 16, 2020.

Open Technology Fund, et.al v. Michael Pack: Where the Accountability Rests – At the Ballot Box

 

OPEN TECHNOLOGY FUND, et al., Plaintiffs, v. MICHAEL PACK, in his official capacity as Chief Executive Officer and Director of the U.S. Agency for Global Media, Defendant
For nearly 80 years, international broadcasting sponsored by the United States has served as a trusted and authoritative global news source, a forum for the expression of diverse viewpoints on the most pressing topics of the day, a model of journalistic excellence and independence, and a beacon of hope for those trapped within authoritarian regimes. Despite being funded by American taxpayers, U.S. international broadcasting has typically remained free of governmental interference. Indeed, its autonomy and its commitment to providing objective news coverage has often been viewed as key to its ability to advance the interests of the United States abroad. Our country’s commitment to this model of cultural export has largely been viewed as a rousing success, helping to undermine and topple some of history’s most oppressive regimes—including Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union—by spreading freedom and democracy around the globe. The current Chief Executive Officer (“CEO”) of the United States Agency for Global Media (“USAGM”)—the defendant, Michael Pack—is accused of putting this legacy at serious risk. Since taking office less than a month ago, Pack has upended U.S.-sponsored international broadcasting. Most relevant to the current dispute, on June 17, 2020, Pack unilaterally removed the operational heads and directors of four USAGM-funded organizations—Open Technology Fund (“OTF”), Radio Free Europe (“RFE”), Radio Free Asia, and the Middle East Broadcasting Networks (collectively, “Networks”)1—and replaced the directors with five members of the current Trump Administration as well as an employee of Liberty Counsel Action, a conservative advocacy organization.
[…]
Pack’s actions have global ramifications, and plaintiffs in this case have expressed deep concerns that his tenure as USAGM CEO will damage the independence and integrity of U.S.- sponsored international broadcasting efforts. If they are correct, the result will be to diminish America’s presence on the international stage, impede the distribution around the world of accurate information on important affairs, and strengthen totalitarian governments everywhere. Yet, Congress has decided to concentrate unilateral power in the USAGM CEO, and the Court cannot override that determination. If Pack’s actions turn out to be misguided, his appointment by the President and confirmation by the Senate points to where the accountability rests: at the ballot box. Based on an evaluation of plaintiffs’ likelihood of success on the merits, the solution is likely not in this Court.
Read in full here:

https://ecf.dcd.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/show_public_doc?2020cv1710-22