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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@StateDept Nominations: Pending in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee as of December 31, 2018

The following are the State Department nominees pending in the SFRC as of December 31, 2018. At least three nominations (Fischer, Rizzuto, and Manchester) have been renominations submitted in January 2018. NYT’s piece, Special Envoys Were Once Disdained Under Trump. Now They’re Popping Up All Over, includes a few details about two of these three nominees. Also read, Ted Cruz signals fight over Trump diplomat pick who spread ‘tinfoil hat’ conspiracy theories about him.

2018-11-26 PN2673 Foreign Service | Nomination for Cynthia K. Duerr, which nomination was received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on November 26, 2018.

2018-11-26 PN2672 Foreign Service | Nominations beginning James J. Higgiston, and ending Bobby G. Richey, Jr., which 2 nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on November 26, 2018.

2018-11-15 PN2650 Department of State | 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.

2018-11-15 PN2649 Peace Corps | Alan R. Swendiman, of North Carolina, to be Deputy Director of the Peace Corps.

2018-11-15 PN2648 Department of State | Lana J. Marks, of Florida, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of South Africa.

2018-11-15 PN2647 Department of State | Brett P. Giroir, of Texas, to be Representative of the United States on the Executive Board of the World Health Organization.

2018-11-15 PN2646 Department of State | James S. Gilmore, of Virginia, to be U.S. Representative to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, with the rank of Ambassador.

2018-11-15 PN2644 Department of State | 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.

2018-11-15 PN2643 Department of State | John P. Abizaid, of Nevada, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

2018-11-13 PN2622-2 Foreign Service | Nomination for Jay P. Williams, which nomination was received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on November 13, 2018.

2018-11-13 PN2580 Department of State | David Stilwell, of Hawaii, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (East Asian and Pacific Affairs).

2018-11-13 PN2579 Department of State | Mary Catherine Phee, of Illinois, 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 State of Qatar.

2018-11-13 PN2578 Department of State | Kenneth A. Howery, of Texas, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Kingdom of Sweden.

2018-11-13 PN2577 Department of State | Edward F. Crawford, of Ohio, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Ireland.

2018-10-05 PN2557 Department of State | Ronald Douglas Johnson, of Florida, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of El Salvador.

2018-09-28 PN2546 Department of State | 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.

2018-09-28 PN2545 United Nations | 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.

2018-09-28 PN2544 Trade and Development Agency | Darrell E. Issa, of California, to be Director of the Trade and Development Agency.

2018-09-24 PN2532 United Nations | Elizabeth Erin Walsh, of the District of Columbia, to be a Representative of the United States of America to the Seventy-third Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations.

2018-09-24 PN2530 United Nations | Margarita Palau-Hernandez, of California, to be a Representative of the United States of America to the Seventy-third Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations.

2018-09-24 PN2528 United States Agency for International Development | Mina Chang, of Texas, to be an Assistant Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development.

2018-09-24 PN2527 Department of State | 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.

2018-09-12 PN2513 Department of State |Austin M. Smith, of South Carolina, to be an Alternate Representative of the United States of America to the Sessions of the General Assembly of the United Nations during his tenure of service as Alternate Representative of the United States of America for Special Political Affairs in the United Nations.

2018-09-12 PN2512 Department of State | Austin M. Smith, of South Carolina, to be Alternate Representative of the United States of America for Special Political Affairs in the United Nations, with the rank of Ambassador.

2018-08-28 PN2470 International Joint Commission, United States and Canada | Lance V. Yohe, of North Dakota, to be Commissioner on the part of the United States on the International Joint Commission, United States and Canada.

2018-08-28 PN2469 International Joint Commission, United States and Canada | Robert C. Sisson, of Michigan, to be Commissioner on the part of the United States on the International Joint Commission, United States and Canada.

2018-08-28 PN2468 International Joint Commission, United States and Canada | Jane L. Corwin, of New York, to be Commissioner on the part of the United States on the International Joint Commission, United States and Canada.

2018-08-27 PN2444 Department of State | Marshall Billingslea, of Virginia, to be an Under Secretary of State (Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights).

2018-08-21 PN2430 Department of State | 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.

2018-08-16 PN2394 Department of State | 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.

2018-07-31 PN2351 Department of State | Adrian Zuckerman, of New Jersey, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Romania.

2018-07-09 PN2233 Department of State | Kathleen Ann Kavalec, 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 Albania.

2018-07-09 PN2232 Department of State | R. Clarke Cooper, of Florida, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (Political-Military Affairs).

2018-06-25 PN2207 Department of State | Robert A. Destro, of Virginia, to be Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor.

2018-06-18 PN2139 Department of State | Brian J. Bulatao, of Texas, to be an Under Secretary of State (Management).

2018-06-11 PN2131-2 Foreign Service | Nominations beginning Jeffries Blunt de Graffenried, Jr., and ending Omar Robles, which 2 nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on June 11, 2018.

2018-06-04 PN2052 Broadcasting Board of Governors | Michael Pack, of Maryland, to be Chief Executive Officer of the Broadcasting Board of Governors for the term of three years.

2018-05-24 PN2032 Department of State | Christine J. Toretti, of Pennsylvania, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Malta.

2018-05-24 PN2029 Department of State | Ronald Mortensen, of Utah, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (Population, Refugees, and Migration).

2018-05-21 PN2021 Department of State | John Rakolta, Jr., of Michigan, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the United Arab Emirates.

2018-04-09 PN1801-2 Foreign Service | Nomination for Dao Le, which nomination was received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on April 9, 2018.

2018-04-09 PN1769 Department of State |David Schenker, of New Jersey, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (Near Eastern Affairs).

2018-03-12 PN1744-4 Foreign Service | Nominations beginning Keisha L. Effiom, and ending Robin Sharma, which 2 nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on March 12, 2018.

2018-01-08 PN1384 Department of State | Doug Manchester, of California, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.

2018-01-08 PN1379 Department of State | 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.

2017-12-01 PN1290 Department of State | David T. Fischer, of Michigan, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Kingdom of Morocco.

House GOP Brings Back Holman Rule to “Retrench” Agency Spending, Cut Pay of Any Federal Employee

Posted: 2:59 pm PT
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Via WaPo:

House Republicans this week reinstated an arcane procedural rule that enables lawmakers to reach deep into the budget and slash the pay of an individual federal worker — down to a $1 — a move that threatens to upend the 130-year-old civil service.

The Holman Rule, named after an Indiana congressman who devised it in 1876, empowers any member of Congress to offer an amendment to an appropriations bill that targets a specific government employee or program.

A majority of the House and the Senate would still have to approve any such amendment, but opponents and supporters agree that it puts agencies and the public on notice that their work is now vulnerable to the whims of elected officials.

Via Federal News Radio:

The House of Representatives voted on party lines and approved the rules package for the 115th Congress. It reinstates the “Holman Rule,” a little-known provision that allows lawmakers to bring an amendment on an appropriations bill to the House floor that may “retrench” agency spending, reduce the number of federal employees in a particular agency or cut the salary or “compensation of any person paid out of the Treasury of the United States.”

srene

 

Excerpt from the GOP Rules Package from January 3, 2017:

Holman Rule – A new standing order for the first session of the 115th Congress reinstates the “Holman Rule”, most of which was removed from the standing rules in 1983.  The standing order functions as an exception to clause 2 of rule XXI to allow provisions changing law in certain limited circumstances.  Under this order, a provision in a general appropriation bill or an amendment thereto may contain legislation to retrench expenditures by (1) reducing amounts of money in the bill, (2) reducing the number of salaries of Federal employees, or (3) reducing the compensation of any person paid by the Treasury. To qualify for treatment under this order, an amendment must be offered after the reading of the bill and must comply with all applicable rules of the House, such as germaneness.  The purpose of this provision is to see if the reinstatement of the Holman rule will provide Members with additional tools to reduce spending during consideration of the regular general appropriation bill.

FreedomWorks which praised the inclusion of the “Holman Rule” in the rules package that passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 234 to 193 says:

The provision, which is effective only for the first session of the 115th Congress, allows Members to introduce amendments to appropriations bills on the floor of the lower chamber to reduce the size of a federal agency’s workforce or adjust compensation for certain federal employees, who, according to a 2015 study by the Cato Institute, earn an average of 78 percent more than workers in the private sector.

The group also puts out a backgrounder for the Holman Rule, which we are not acquainted of, until today:

Named after Rep. William Holman (D-Ind.), the “Holman Rule” was first adopted by the House in 1876. Holman, a member of the House Appropriations Committee and a fierce opponent of federal spending, introduced the amendment to reduce extraneous spending. The Holman Rule was part of the House rules from 1876 until 1895. It was adopted again as part of the rules in 1911 and survived intact until 1983, when Democrats, who had the majority in the House, nixed it.

Some House Democrats complained about the reinstatement of the Holman Rule prior to the vote on the rules package, foolishly suggesting that it is an attack on federal workers. “Reinstating the so-called ‘Holman Rule’ would allow any Member of Congress to simply offer an amendment that could reduce the salary of any federal employee, or eliminate a federal employee’s position without hearings, testimony, or due process,” Reps. Don Beyer (D-Va.), Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), John Delaney (D-Md.), and Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) said in a press release. “[W]ith this rule House Republicans would instead treat these civil servants like political pawns and scapegoats.”

FreedomWorks notes that “the reinstatement of the Holman Rule is temporary, lasting only for the first session of the 115th Congress, or the 2017 legislative year. But its revival is a trial run that could lead to spending cuts for federal agencies that often run roughshod over congressional authority in Article I of the Constitution, as well as achieve the goal of reducing federal spending as the national debt approaches $20 trillion.”

So a “trial run” for this legislative year, but could become normal in the years ahead.  The reinstatement of the Holman Rule was lost in the uproar over the proposed gutting of the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE). The WaPo report says that as “a concession to Republicans who oppose this rule, leaders designed it to expire in one year unless lawmakers vote to keep it in place.” But the same report quotes House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) saying that “insofar as voters elected Trump with the hope of fundamentally changing the way government works, the Holman Rule gives Congress a chance to do just that.”  

“This is a big rule change inside there that allows people to get at places they hadn’t before,”  McCarthy told reporters.

Note that WaPo says a majority of the House and the Senate would still have to approve any such amendment to an appropriations bill that targets a specific government employee or program, but that this puts agencies and the public on notice that their work is now vulnerable to the whims of elected officials.

So, we’re now all just waiting to see which congressional representative will be the first to throw a tantrum and attempt to get a federal employee’s salary down to $1.00?

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Senate Bill to Slash Embassy Security Funds in Half Until US Embassy Jerusalem Officially Opens

Posted: 2:22 am ET
Updated: Jan 12, 4:55 PM PT
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Apparently, a viral image created by the group called the Other 98 with three Republican senators who once blasted lax embassy security in Benghazi, Libya made the social media rounds recently and readers asked @PolitiFact to check it out. “The image includes pictures of three Republican senators — Ted Cruz of Texas, Dean Heller of Nevada and Marco Rubio of Florida — along with the caption, “The same 3 senators who have spent the last 3 years s——- themselves over ‘Benghazi!’ just introduced a bill to reduce embassy security by 50 percent.” PolitiFact judged the meme “mostly false” but this blogpost was accused of being a “fake news’. We’ve re-read our reporting on this issue and there’s nothing that we feel needs a correction. For those who are new in this blog, you can read our post below, and you can also read the similar points made by PolitiFact here.    

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On January 3,  Senator Dean Heller (R-NV)  announced that he, along with Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Marco Rubio (R-FL), have introduced the Jerusalem Embassy and Recognition Act, “legislation that would fulfill America’s commitment to Israel to relocate the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.‎”

Excerpt from Heller’s announcement:

“My support for Israel is unwavering.  From my very first days as a United States Senator, I have prioritized the strengthening of the important relationship shared between Israel and the United States. That’s why I’m proud to reintroduce the Jerusalem Embassy and Recognition Act. For years, I’ve advocated for America’s need to reaffirm its support for one of our nation’s strongest allies by recognizing Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel.  It honors an important promise America made more than two decades ago but has yet to fulfill. While Administrations come and go, the lasting strength of our partnership with one of our strongest allies in the Middle East continues to endure. My legislation is a testament to that.

The announcement quotes Senator Marco Rubio: “Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the Jewish state of Israel, and that’s where America’s embassy belongs. It’s time for Congress and the President-Elect to eliminate the loophole that has allowed presidents in both parties to ignore U.S. law and delay our embassy’s rightful relocation to Jerusalem for over two decades.”

It also says that Heller’s bill “withholds certain State Department funds until that relocation is complete.”

That is some understatement.  The bill does not withhold just any State Department funds but embassy security funds.

This is a similar bill Senator Heller had introduced in the 112th, 113th, and 114th Congress. The version of the bill introduced but died in the 114th Congress includes the provision to restrict State Department funding in FY2015, FY2016, and FY2017 and the following language:

Restriction on Funding Subject to Opening Determination.–Not  more than 50 percent of the funds appropriated to the Department of  State for fiscal year 2015 for ``Acquisition and Maintenance of  Buildings Abroad” may be obligated until the Secretary of State  determines and reports to Congress that the United States Embassy in Jerusalem has officially opened.

The current bill, S.11, which had been read twice and referred to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee includes the elimination of the waiver and similar language on funding restriction but targets a specific State Department funding — not funds for the “Acquisition and Maintenance of  Buildings Abroad” but for “Embassy Security, Construction, and Maintenance.” The bill further includes restrictions for all security, construction, and maintenance funding worldwide for FY2018 and FY2019 except for the embassy in Tel Aviv until its relocation.

Restriction on Funding Subject to Opening Determination.–Not  more than 50 percent of the funds appropriated to the Department of  State for fiscal year 2017 under the heading  “Embassy Security, Construction, and Maintenance” may be obligated until the  Secretary of State  determines and reports to Congress that the United States Embassy in Jerusalem has officially opened.

Just so we’re clear, three American senators including those who were screaming #BENGHAZI for the last several years have put forward a bill that would freeze half the State Department funding on embassy security until the new secretary of state reports to Congress that the US Embassy in Jerusalem has “officially opened.”

Writing for FP, Hussein Ibish, Senior Resident Scholar at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington writes:

Jerusalem is the most sensitive issue between Israelis and Palestinians, as the outbreak of the Second Intifada and other repeated instances in which it has served as a uniquely potent flash point have illustrated. Jerusalem brings together religious, nationalistic, symbolic, and ethnic sensibilities in a singularly powerful and dangerous mix. […] Along with other members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the leading Gulf Arab states would almost certainly feel it necessary to practically demonstrate their objections to the relocation of the U.S. Embassy by finding some means of reasserting Palestinian, and even broader Christian and Muslim, claims on Jerusalem — and the most likely fallout would be a curtailment of security cooperation with Israel on matters concerning Iran’s nefarious activities in the Middle East. Adding such an additional layer of tension between Israel and the Arab states would be an enormous gift to Tehran and its regional alliance.

Since officially opening the US Embassy in Jerusalem could not happen overnight, this bill with its restrictions on embassy security funding would put all American diplomats and family members overseas at greater risks. At a time when embassy security could be most crucial, only 50 percent of appropriated State Department  embassy security, construction, and maintenance funds may be obligated.

Get that?

So with only half the embassy security funds obligated, what happens to our 275 posts overseas? Half gets the funds and the other half doesn’t? Reduced funding across the board? Do these good senators realized that the unfunded parts could get Americans killed? They don’t know? How could they not know? That leaves us with two troubling guesses — that they know but don’t care, or that they know this bill won’t go anywhere but its worth squeezing the juice, anyway.

Oops, is that our jaded slip showing?

We should point out that similar bills were introduced previously by Senator Heller, and they all died in committee. This bill, however, now has the support of  Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Marco Rubio (R-FL). The two need no special introductions.

 

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