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Two Delaware nominees for overseas posts are among 61 currently blocked from Senate confirmation – leaving key diplomatic and national security positions unfilled

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senators Chris Coons, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Chair of the Senate State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs (SFOPS) Appropriations Subcommittee, and Tom Carper (both D-Del.) both spoke on the Senate floor yesterday and pushed to end Senate Republicans’ obstruction of several of President Biden’s foreign policy nominees, including former Delaware Governor Jack Markell.

On Wednesday afternoon, Senator Coons went to the Senate floor to make a live Unanimous Consent request – a move to secure Senate confirmation for the postings – on twelve nominees, including Governor Markell, nominee for U.S. Representative to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and University of Delaware graduate Steve Bondy, nominee for U.S. Ambassador to Bahrain. The request was rejected by U.S. Senators Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas), leaving the positions unfilled.   

As of today, 61 nominees for the State Department, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and several multilateral development banks have had their confirmation blocked by Republicans on the Senate floor, despite receiving approval from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. This obstruction leaves critical diplomatic, humanitarian, and national security positions unfilled at a time of the utmost national need and includes the U.S. Ambassadorships to China and Japan.

Senators Coons and Carper both spoke on the Senate floor to spotlight this backlog of Senate confirmations due to Republican obstruction.

“At a time when we need senior people to help our country deter adversaries, advance our interests, and secure our values, it is important that all the nominees currently waiting on this floor be confirmed. […] These national security issues are important, and this chamber owes to the American people robust debate, but we also need to provide advice and consent on any president's nominees in a purposeful and timely manner,” said Senator Coons. “I've appreciated the opportunity to dialogue with colleagues about a possible path forward, but as of right now, we don't have one, so I'm seeking this Unanimous Consent. Principal among the many nominees is my dear friend, Jack Markell.”

“For the last four years, not only have we as a nation withdrawn from our seat at the international table, we've stopped looking outward for solutions that can boost our own. It's been almost five years, in fact since January 20, 2017, since we had a Senate-confirmed ambassador to the OECD. Five years. Five years away from the table, our eyes closed to new solutions. That's particularly dangerous in the wake of an economic recession,” Senator Carper said. “Right now, the OECD could use someone like Jack Markell. He'll do a great job representing our nation, and he's ready to go to work.”

Full audio and video of Senators Coons and Carper’s request for Senate approval of the nominees is available here 

The Unanimous Consent request sought to confirm twelve of President Biden’s nominees including: Jack Markell to be U.S. Representative to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development; Nick Burns, to be U.S. Ambassador to China; Rahm Emanuel, to be U.S. Ambassador to Japan; Steve Bondy, to be U.S. Ambassador to Bahrain; Cynthia Telles, to be U.S. Ambassador to Costa Rica; Bathsheba Nell Crocker, to be U.S. Representative to the United Nations in Geneva; Michele Sison, to be Assistant Secretary of State for International Organizational Affairs; Christopher Lu, to be U.S. Representative to the United Nations for U.N. Management and Reform; Lisa Carty, to be U.S. Representative on the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations; Laura Holgate, to be U.S. Ambassador to the Vienna Office of the United Nations and U.S. Representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency; C.S. Eliot Kang, to be Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Non-Proliferation; and Adam Scheinman, to be Special Representative of the President for Nuclear Nonproliferation.

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