Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid criticized Republicans anew Thursday, blaming them for the logjam of ambassadorial confirmations that has left more than a quarter of the world’s countries without a U.S. ambassador on the ground.
‘Career diplomats don’t represent political parties – they represent the United States of America,’ Reid said. ‘These longtime professionals have worked for both Democrats and Republicans and they’ve worked for several different administrations. And now that these professionals are needed to fill vital ambassador posts in some of the most volatile regions in the world, Republicans have slammed the brakes on these nominations.’
Ambassadorial confirmations have slowed to a trickle in the Senate as Republicans are routinely refusing to agree to give the unanimous consent required to proceed on quick confirmation votes.
Their refusal is a protest over Reid employing the so-called "nuclear option" last year – changing longstanding Senate rules to make it easier to pass some of President Barack Obama’s nominations.
Republicans and the union that represents foreign service workers have also complained about the unusually large percentage of political supporters Obama has nominated for ambassadorships.
‘Let me see if I can wrap my head around this – Republicans are stalling executive nominees vital to our national security to get back at Democrats?’ said Reid, D-Nev. ‘To get back at me? Stalling these nominees is jeopardizing America’s interests abroad. It’s damaging our nation’s role in global affairs. It’s damaging our national security.’
Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told McClatchy Wednesday that ‘Rather than filling vacant embassies to alleviate the national security concerns’ raised by Secretary of State John Kerry’ Reid chose to ‘spend last week on a sportsman’s bill and previous weeks confirming mostly judges.’
‘Senator Corker’s reasoning that these ambassadors’ confirmations were delayed unnecessarily by legislation and judicial confirmations is strange,’ Reid said Thursday. ‘I take issue with the notion that the Senate somehow wasted time by legislating and confirming judicial nominees. Those are out constitutional duties.’