Senate on Recess, See Pending @StateDept Nominations (as of August 4, 2018)

Posted: 4:40 pm PT

 

The U.S. Senate went on its summer recess on Wednesday, August 1. The senators will not be back until August 15. Nominees hoping the Senate would make a slew of confirmation before they head home for their break must be disappointed. Roll Call reports that the Senate will hold brief pro forma sessions only until Wednesday, Aug. 15. These sessions are not designed to include legislative business but will prevent President Trump from making recess appointments.

Even after the Senate returns to work in a couple of weeks, their tentative schedule does not leave a lot of time before the senators head home again to campaign. While some of these nominations will presumably get through the full Senate before November, we suspect that some will likely die in committee given the length of time they’ve been sitting there with no action.

Below is a run down of one confirmation we’ve missed (Poland), the nominations currently pending in the Executive Calendar (cleared by the SRFC/SSCI but awaiting their final vote in the Senate), and the nominations pending (some appears stuck) in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee as of August 4, 2018.

CONFIRMATIONS

2018-07-12 PN1640  | Georgette Mosbacher, of Florida, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Poland.

PENDING ON THE EXECUTIVE CALENDAR

PN1708 | Kimberly Breier, of Virginia, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (Western Hemisphere Affairs)

PN2030 Denise Natali, of New Jersey, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (Conflict and Stabilization Operations).

PN2140 | Ellen E. McCarthy, of Virginia, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (Intelligence and Research)

PN1768Kenneth S. George, of Texas, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Oriental Republic of Uruguay.

PN1942 | Randy W. Berry, of Colorado, 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 Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal.

PN2028 | Donald Lu, 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 Kyrgyz Republic.

PN2031 | Alaina B. Teplitz, of Colorado, 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 Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, and to serve concurrently and without additional compensation as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Maldives.

PN1638 | 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.

PN1762 | Stephen Akard, of Indiana, to be Director of the Office of Foreign Missions, with the rank of Ambassador.

PN1447 | Jackie Wolcott, of Virginia, to be Representative of the United States of America to the International Atomic Energy Agency, with the rank of Ambassador.

PN1448 | Jackie Wolcott, of Virginia, to be Representative of the United States of America to the Vienna Office of the United Nations, with the rank of Ambassador.

PN2019 | Cherith Norman Chalet, of New Jersey, to be Representative of the United States of America to the United Nations for U.N. Management and Reform, with the rank of Ambassador.

PN2020 | Cherith Norman Chalet, of New Jersey, to be an Alternate Representative of the United States of America to the Sessions of the General Assembly of the United Nations, during her tenure of service as Representative of the United States of America to the United Nations for U.N. Management and Reform.

PN2319 | Nominations beginning Philip S. Goldberg, and ending Daniel Bennett Smith, which 4 nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on July 18, 2018.

PN2132 | Nomination for Jason Alexander, which nomination was received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on June 11, 2018.

PN1802-2 | Nomination for Maureen A. Shauket, which nomination was received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on April 9, 2018.

PN1802-1 | Nomination for Peter A. Malnak, which nomination was received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on April 9, 2018.

PN1801-1 | Nominations beginning Sandillo Banerjee, and ending Robert Peaslee, which 4 nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on April 9, 2018.

PN1800-2 | Nomination for Tanya S. Urquieta, which nomination was received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on April 9, 2018.

PN1800-1 | Nominations beginning Polly Catherine Dunford-Zahar, and ending William M. Patterson, which 12 nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on April 9, 2018.

PN1800-1 | Nominations beginning Polly Catherine Dunford-Zahar, and ending William M. Patterson, which 12 nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on April 9, 2018.

PN1743 | Nominations beginning Michael Calvert, and ending Marvin Smith, which 27 nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on March 12, 2018.

PENDING IN COMMITTEE

STATE DEPARTMENT

2018-07-18 PN2276 |  David Hale, of New Jersey, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Career Minister, to be an Under Secretary of State (Political Affairs).

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

2018-07-09 PN2236 | John Cotton Richmond, of Virginia, to be Director of the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking, with the rank of Ambassador at Large.

2018-07-09 PN2232 | R. Clarke Cooper, of Florida, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (Political-Military Affairs). Note: Aug 1 WaPo report notes that Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) informed R. Clarke Cooper, who is nominated as the next assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs, that he would be objecting to his confirmation until the administration reverses its policy. Cooper would have authority over the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls, the government office that reached a settlement with Defense Distributed that would have allowed it to post the blueprints.

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

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

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

2018-01-08 PN1386 | Susan A. Thornton, of Maine, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (East Asian and Pacific Affairs). (Note: Nominee retired as of June 30, 2018)

AMBASSADOR NOMINEES

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

2018-07-31 PN2350 | Lucy Tamlyn, 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 Central African Republic.

2018-07-31 PN2349 | Judy Rising Reinke, 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 Montenegro.

2018-07-23 PN2324 | Earl Robert Miller, of Michigan, 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 People’s Republic of Bangladesh.

2018-07-18 PN2278 | Donald Y. Yamamoto, 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 the Federal Republic of Somalia.

2018-07-17 PN2267 | Kevin K. Sullivan, of Ohio, 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 Nicaragua.

2018-07-09 PN2239 | Karen L. Williams, 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 Suriname.

2018-07-09 PN2238 | Stephanie Sanders Sullivan, 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 Republic of Ghana.

2018-07-09 PN2237 | 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.

2018-07-09 PN2235 | 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.

2018-07-09 PN2234 | Philip S. Kosnett, of Virginia, 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 Kosovo.

2018-07-09 PN2233 | 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.

2018-06-25 PN2208 | Dereck J. Hogan, of Virginia, 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 Moldova.

2018-06-25 PN2206 |  Lynda Blanchard, of Alabama, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Slovenia.

2018-06-20 PN2172 | Michael A. Hammer, 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 Democratic Republic of the Congo.

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

2018-05-21 PN2022 | Donald R. Tapia, of Arizona, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Jamaica.

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

2018-05-10 PN1943 | Kyle McCarter, of Illinois, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Kenya.

2018-01-08 PN1384 | 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 | 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.

2018-01-08 PN1376 | Andrew M. Gellert, of New Jersey, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Chile.

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

INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS

2018-07-18 PN2277  | UNFAO – 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.

2018-04-12 PN1824 International Monetary Fund | Mark Rosen, of Connecticut, to be United States Executive Director of the International Monetary Fund for a term of two years.

USAID

2018-06-28 PN2223 | Michael T. Harvey, of Texas, to be an Assistant Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development.

2018-06-20 PN2178 | Mark Montgomery, of Virginia, to be an Assistant Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development.

2018-04-12 PN1823 | Bonnie Glick, of Maryland, to be Deputy Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development.

FS LISTS

2018-07-31 PN2371 Foreign Service | Nominations beginning Ami J. Abou-Bakr, and ending Emily Yu, which 71 nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on July 31, 2018.

2018-07-31 PN2370 Foreign Service | Nominations beginning James Robert Adams, and ending Christopher M. Zveare, which 171 nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on July 31, 2018.

2018-07-31 PN2369 Foreign Service | Nomination for Daniel Mark Smolka, which nomination was received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on July 31, 2018.

2018-06-11 PN2131 Foreign Service | Nominations beginning Michael Ashkouri, and ending Omar Robles, which 5 nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on June 11, 2018.

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.

2018-03-12 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.

Broadcasting Board of Governors

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

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U.S. Interests Section Havana Needs a New Embassy Seal ASAP, Senators Fume About Security

— Domani Spero
[twitter-follow screen_name=’Diplopundit’ ]

 

I’ve instructed Secretary Kerry to immediately begin discussions with Cuba to reestablish diplomatic relations that have been severed since January of 1961.  Going forward, the United States will reestablish an embassy in Havana, and high-ranking officials will visit Cuba.

President Barack H. Obama, December 17, 2014

 

It did not take long. Really.

According to BuzzFeed, two Republican senators have already threatened to block congressional funding for a future U.S. Embassy in Cuba and an ambassadorial nomination after the Obama administration announced sweeping changes to U.S. policy toward Cuba.

“I anticipate we’re going to have a very interesting couple of years discussing how you’re going to get an ambassador nominated and how you’ll get an embassy funded,” Rubio, an ardent opponent of lifting the Cuban embargo, said.

 

 

Sorry about this, you may have to cover your eyes!

 

Here’s a crib sheet for our elected reps:

The U.S. Interests Section (USINT) is in the former United States Embassy building that was built by Harrison Abramovitz architects and opened in 1953. The 6-story building was reopened in 1977, renovations were completed in 1997.

The functions of USINT are similar to those of any U.S. government presence abroad: Consular Services, a Political and Economic Section, a Public Diplomacy Program, and Refugee Processing unique to Cuba.

The objectives of USINT in Cuba are for rule of law, individual human rights and open economic and communication systems.

Bilateral relations are based upon the Migration Accords designed to promote safe, legal and orderly migration, the Interests Section Agreement, and efforts to reduce global threats from crime and narcotics.

 

Our de facto embassy has a staff of 51 Americans. Its total funding excluding salaries for FY2013 was $13,119,451, appropriated by Congress, of course. Our U.S. Congress.

Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, is the Chief of Mission at the U.S. Interests Section in Havana.  Prior to taking up this position in August 2014, Ambassador DeLaurentis served for three years as the Alternate Representative for Special Political Affairs at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations.  Prior to that posting, he was Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs.

There’s more via State/OIG’s 2014 inspection report of USINT Havana:

USINT is located in a U.S. Government-owned building constructed in 1951 as a chancery and substantially renovated in the early 1990s. The land was first leased from the Cuban Government in 1949 for a 90-year term with a 90-year extension. In exchange, the U.S. Government leased three residences (in Havana, Matanzas, and Santiago) to the Cuban Government, also for 90 years.

The Department constructed and first occupied the U.S. Government-owned COM residence in 1942. The original eagle from the monument to the victims of the battleship Maine, which was toppled following the Bay of Pigs invasion, adorns the grounds. Representational, family, and guest spaces are well appointed. The residence is well maintained and furnished [….]

Short-term-leased properties in Havana include an annex, which houses Department of Homeland Security and the Bureau of Population, Refugees, And Migration, a warehouse, the DCM residence, a two-house Marine detachment compound, and residential housing for all other USINT American staff. These properties are all covered under an umbrella lease agreement with PALCO.

A special note, dedicated to our elected representatives who made lots of noise about security and protecting our diplomats overseas in the aftermath of Benghazi — the State Department Inspector General recommended that the Bureau of Overseas Building Operations “implement a comprehensive plan to address security, structural, fire safety, and space planning deficiencies” at the U.S. Interests Section Havana…” 

We’d like to know that these congressional concerns extend to our diplomats who have been serving in Havana for years under our de facto embassy.

 

Related posts:

U.S.Embassies Face Host Country Harassment:  From Petty Actions to Poisoning of Family Pets

 

 

 

 

 

US Embassy Hungary: A well managed, productive mission awaits Ambassador Colleen Bell

— Domani Spero
[twitter-follow screen_name=’Diplopundit’ ]

 

So apparently, Senator John McCain led a CODEL to the Munich Security Conference a couple weeks back last February and made a four-hour side trip to Budapest. Bloomberg View’s Jeffrey Goldberg writes that, he suspect, though he could not prove it, that the good senator from Arizona decided to meet with two dozen Hungarian journalists in Budapest mainly so that the delegation would be asked questions about a woman named Colleen Bell.

Who is Colleen Bell? Bell is a soap opera producer — “The Bold and the Beautiful” is her masterwork — who was nominated by Barack Obama’s administration to serve as U.S. ambassador to Hungary. Bell, one of Obama’s larger fundraising “bundlers,” bought this nomination with more than $500,000 of mostly other people’s money.
[…]
In Budapest, they’re highly interested in her. When a reporter, early in the press conference, asked McCain about Bell, a devilish smile played across his face.

“We’re very fortunate,” he said, “to have with us today the chairman of the committee that holds the hearings that these nominees come before, and that is Senator Murphy, and he is very knowledgeable about these issues.”

Three things then happened. First, most everyone at the press conference laughed. Second, one of the people who didn’t laugh, the aforementioned Senator Chris Murphy, a freshman Democrat from Connecticut, approached the podium as if it were covered in rat poison. Third, McCain winked — not at all subtly — at the three American journalists sitting in the front row.

This is a pretty hilarious piece, although definitely not/not hilarious if you are Colleen Bell. Just imagine being in her shoes — you have yet to arrived at your host country and a couple dozen journalists who presumably will cover your tenure in Budapest, were already laughing at your expense.

Screen Shot 2014-12-03

Reax via Twitter:

NYT’s Mark Leibovich, author of This Town, Two Parties and a Funeral — Plus Plenty of Valet Parking! — in America’s Gilded Capital says:

FP’s David Rothkopf thought this is bad news but ….

World News Tonight ponders the how:

Fox News talks credentials:

WaPo’s Daniel W. Drezner reacts to WH spox spin about this nominee. Really a bad sign when the spox pulls out the “I wasn’t part of this decision process” excuse.  The dudester is … who the heck expects the spokesman, even of the White House to be involved in the deliberation of ambassadorships?

Oh, John McCain. The former straight talker, and former presidential contender, is apparently not happy about this nominee according to ABC News. Although, we’re not sure if the senator has been happy about anything since 2008.

“We’re about to vote on a totally unqualified individual to be ambassador to a nation which is very important to our national security interests,” he said.

“I am not against political appointees … but here we are, a nation that’s on the verge of seceded its sovereignty to a neo-fascist dictator getting in bed with Vladimir Putin and we’re gonna send the producer of ‘The Bold and the Beautiful’ as our ambassador,” McCain said. (via)

 

Isn’t our capital city just the most marvelously enchanting reality show ever?

But there’s more.

Today, Reuters is reporting that Hungary’s Foreign Ministry summoned Chargé d’Affaires André Goodfriend, our acting ambassador at the U.S. Embassy in Budapest over comments made by Senator McCain on Tuesday, calling Prime Minister Viktor Orban a “neo-fascist dictator.”

This, we suspect, will not/not be a boring tour. The next time Senator McCain rants about Hungary, the MFA will be calling in the new ambassador. It would certainly help smooth relations if she is likable instead of grouchy.

In any case, Ambassador-designate Colleen Bell, the producer of ‘The Bold and the Beautiful’ will officially be our top American representative in Hungary once that country accepts her credentials. You may not like that, but the Senate confirmed her nomination and she’s one of ours now.  She will not only be the chief of mission at our embassy in Hungary, she will also be responsible for foreign service and other agency personnel and their family members at post. Embassy Budapest employs 95 Americans and 232 locally employed (LE) staff members, servicing five agencies. The total mission funding for FY 2013 was $17.5 million, which includes Department of State (Department) funding of $11.5 million and excludes U.S. direct-hire salaries. The total bilateral assistance for FY 2013 was $1.8 million.

We hope that the ambassador-designate spent the last year while waiting for confirmation to learn more about her host country. She’ll need it.  She will be America’s face in a country where the elected government doesn’t have a lot of fondness for America.  She did graduate with honors from Sweet Briar College with a bachelor’s degree in political economy, a dual major in political science and economics, so she’s not stupid, despite a near disastrous confirmation hearing. The good news is — she’ll assume charge of a mission that has been “A well managed and productive, and led by a talented chargé d’affaires(CDA),” who arrived in August 2013. (The Hungarian right is apparently hoping that CDA Goodfriend would be recalled or replaced).  According to the OIG inspectors, Chargé d’Affaires André Goodfriend effectively leads a collegial and active country team and is preparing carefully for the arrival of a new ambassador.

So — let’s wish the new ambassador well in her new assignment and hope that she be a good steward of Mission Budapest.

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Dear Senators, Do You Really Want President Obama to Appoint 65 Special Presidential Envoys?

Domani Spero
[twitter-follow screen_name=’Diplopundit’ ]

 

So, Congress has been back in session for a week but not for long.  We’re now counting the days when our representatives will run off to full campaign mode for the November election.

Meanwhile, we have not seen any significant movement in the confirmation of the State Department nominees, particularly the ambassadorial appointments stuck in the Senate since forever.  Apparently,  the world’s greatest deliberative body is now unable to deliberate with sense and harmony. Who best should pay the price than the ambassadorial nominees, because why not? It’s not like anyone of the nominees can appeal to a higher order.

Last September 11, the Senate did confirm John Hoover as our ambassador to the Republic of Sierra  Leone. That’s the country with a serious outbreak in Ebola.  He only waited 428 days.  And he was not even the longest wait on the calendar.  Mr. Daughton, a career diplomat nominated for our embassy in Namibia has been waiting the longest at 443 days as of this writing.  Mr. Harrington, another career diplomat nominated for Lesotho has been waiting 411 days and recently saw his post go on ordered departure (for family members) due to a coup; he presumably watched it all unfold from over 8,000 miles at his temporary desk in the District of Columbia!

Here are some of the other nominees stuck longest, to-date, in confirmation purgatory:

image via afsa.org with diplopundit notation

image via afsa.org with diplopundit annotation

The State Department “T” family also has two nominees awaiting confirmation for over 400 days. Here’s their boss, the Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security tweeting on the day Congress returned to work, and again, a few days later:

 

There are currently 153 nomination pending on the Senate’s Executive Calendar.  According to FP, some 65 State Department nominations are pending in the Senate, 39 of which have made it out of SFRC and onto the Senate floor. Of the 65, 26 are stuck in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  The names are listed here.

If the Senate refuses to confirm these nominees, we think President Obama should just appoint them as his Special Presidential Envoys to their respective countries and send them off packing the next day. Never mind Congress.

Yup, that sounds craaazzy!

But … but… no more crazy than the Senate holding on to these nominations for over a year or months on end and leaving our diplomatic missions without the selected representatives of the President. So maybe a tad more crazy is what Congress seriously needs.

Look, there are special envoys and there are special envoys. True that they are the “personal representatives of the President.” For most of them, this is a technical credential accorded their status.  The State Department currently has about 40 special envoys, reps and senior advisors.  For others, like Edward House, also known as Colonel House,  and President Wilson’s chief advisor on European politics and diplomacy during World War I (1914-18), they really do represent the President personally.  You may remember that Colonel House did not even go through a Senate confirmation process; he just went about his work per instruction from the President. So it’s not like this had never been done before.

Certainly, a mass appointment of Special Presidential Envoys would be a bad precedent.  We are also pretty sure our U.S. Senate would be terribly unhappy and offended if President Obama simply announce the appointments of five dozen Special Presidential Envoys in place of his ambassadors. And without the advice and consent of the Senate. Of course, they would!

(Gosh! If this happens,we would missed a whole lot of informative and entertaining performances on C-Span).

That said, if our senators cannot do kumbaya work for the sake of the United States, if they continue trading blame on why the nominees are stuck in the Senate, and if they kept on putting party before country, why then should we mind if they are offended and get ulcers?

Go ahead, President Obama … make our day!

 

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