SFRC Clears Villarosa, Liberi, Mull, North, Olson, Macmanus with Looming Senate Holds

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee(SFRC)  cleared the following ambassadorial nominations on September 19, 2012.

  • Sharon English Woods Villarosa, of Texas, 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 Mauritius, and to serve concurrently and without additional compensation as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Seychelles.
  • Dawn M. Liberi, of Florida, 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 Burundi.
  • Stephen D. Mull, of Virginia, 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 Poland.
  • Walter North, of Washington, 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 Papua New Guinea, and to serve concurrently and without additional compensation as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Solomon Islands and Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Vanuatu.
  • Richard G. Olson, of New Mexico, 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 Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
  • Joseph E. Macmanus, of New York, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Representative of the United States of America to the Vienna Office of the United Nations, with the rank of Ambassador.
  • Joseph E. Macmanus, of New York, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Representative of the United States of America to the International Atomic Energy Agency, with the rank of Ambassador

Two nominees for UNGA were also cleared:

The Honorable John Hardy Isakson, of Georgia, to be a Representative of the United States of America to the Sixty-seventh Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations

The Honorable Patrick J. Leahy, of Vermont, to be a Representative of the United States of America to the Sixty-seventh Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations

The nominations will now go to the Senate for the full vote.

The SFRC, by the way,  just held its confirmation hearing for Ambassador Robert Beecroft (US Embassy Iraq) on September 19, so he was not included in the cleared nominees on Wednesday.  The Cable says that according to committee aides, “there was broad support for dispatching the Beecroft nomination out of committee without a formal vote so he could be confirmed this week before the Senate leaves town.”

However, all these nominees could get entangled in Senator Rand Paul’s hold.  He has reportedly placed a hold on the Olson nomination over Pakistan’s Afridi case. And according to The Cable, there is also the the ongoing dispute between Senate leadership and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) over Paul’s demand for a floor vote on his amendment to cut off all U.S. aid to Pakistan, Libya, and Egypt.

We don’t think Dr. Afridi should be in jail, but taking away what, $33 million from over a billion US aid to Pakistan, and a very public congressional pressure to released the good doctor — is not going to help much. No country, particularly one like Pakistan would like to be seen as publicly relenting to such foreign pressure, especially one coming from the United States, a perceived enemy by a great number of its population. To do so is contrary to the laws of political self preservation.  Can you imagine any US President acceding to a foreign senator’s demand to release a prisoner from one of our jails?  Of course not.

Senator Paul says, “If Pakistan wants to be our ally — and receive foreign aid — then they should act like it, and they must start by releasing Dr. Afridi.” He has more here.

Even if the elected Government of Pakistan may be amendable to releasing Dr. Afridi, it would be foolish to do so now, in the most public way. Or if it does, and it falls, who would we have next to deal with?

If screaming from the Senate chamber works perfectly in conducting foreign relations, why the heck do we have a diplomatic corps?  More congressional shock and awe is not going to help the cause of Dr. Afridi, it just drags it longer.  Senator Paul should understand this.  It’s not about him, it’s about them.  He should lift his hold so Ambassador Olson can join his embassy in Islamabad and our diplomats can do the work they need to do.

 

 

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Pending State Department Nominations as of August 2012

Below is a list of nominees submitted by the President to the Senate for confirmation during the current congress and was still undergoing SFRC consideration when the Senate took its break on August 2, 2012:

Aug 02, 12     PN1876    United Nations
Patrick J. Leahy, of Vermont, to be a Representative of the United States of America to the Sixty-seventh Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations.

Aug 02, 12     PN1875    United Nations
John Hardy Isakson, of Georgia, to be a Representative of the United States of America to the Sixty-seventh Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations.

Jul 18, 12     PN1827    Department of State
Richard G. Olson, of New Mexico, 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 Islamic Republic of Pakistan. (reportedly discharged from committee but still listed as “pending” in the SFRC)

Jul 11, 12     PN1802    Department of State
Walter North, of Washington, 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 Papua New Guinea, and to serve concurrently and without additional compensation as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Solomon Islands and  Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Vanuatu.

Jul 11, 12     PN1801    Department of State
Stephen D. Mull, of Virginia, 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 Poland.

Jul 11, 12     PN1800    Department of State
Dawn M. Liberi, of Florida, 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 Burundi.

Dec 05, 11     PN1171    Department of State
Joseph E. Macmanus, of New York, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Representative of the United States of America to the International Atomic Energy Agency,
with the rank of Ambassador.

Dec 05, 11     PN1170    Department of State
Joseph E. Macmanus, of New York, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Representative of the United States of America to the Vienna Office of the United Nations,
with the rank of Ambassador.

Oct 17, 11     PN1047    Department of State
Sharon English Woods Villarosa, of Texas, 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 Mauritius, and to serve concurrently and without additional compensation as Ambassador  Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Seychelles.

Shari Villarosa‘s nomination for Mauritius has been pending in committee since October 2011. And then there’s also Joseph Macmanus for IAEA and UNVIE, pending since December 2011.  Ms. Villarosa was Deputy Coordinator for Regional Affairs in the Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism when she was nominated last year.  Mr. Macmanus on the other hand was the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs when his nomination was announced last year.

Don’t know why these two nominees have been stuck in committee for the last 8-10 months. Mr. Macmanus is heading to IAEA and the UN, the later, of course a favorite pet peeve for some folks in Congress.  Could be that.  Mauritius as you may already know is an island in the Indian Ocean (also the only known habitat of the extinct Dodo bird). Nothing controversial there. She’s a career diplomat who was previously chargé d’affaires for the US Embassy in Rangoon from August 2005 to September 2008.  There was that OIG report while she was CDA in Burma (mostly redacted, of course!).   But that’s not it, is it?

I don’t think these two even had their confirmation hearings put on the calendar at the SFRC.  Interesting, huh? Anybody know why these two nominations have been glued to the SFRC welcome mat for months without action?

Domani Spero