Flags of NATO alliance members flap in the wind outside NATO headquarters in Brussels.

Flags of NATO alliance members flap in the wind outside NATO headquarters in Brussels. AP / Olivier Matthys

30 State Department Nominees, Including NATO Ambassador, Advance To Full Senate

Just two Biden ambassadors have been confirmed so far.

President Biden’s pick to serve as the top representative to NATO on Tuesday got one step closer to starting her job, more than 100 days after she was nominated. 

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved a batch of 30 State Department nominees in a business meeting, including Julianne Smith, who is nominated to be America’s ambassador to the alliance. However, these senior diplomats are still waiting to be confirmed by the full Senate, where lawmakers have so far blocked them from moving forward and stalled the administration’s plans to prioritize diplomacy and foreign policy.

The Biden administration is far behind historical norms for the number of confirmed personnel at the State Department at this point in the term. Part of the delay is that some subcommittees did not have a senator willing to preside as ranking member for a nomination hearing, so could not consider the personnel, said Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., the chairman of the full committee. 

“We have been unable to move forward with a number of nomination hearings at the subcommittee level because we have had no Republican who has stepped up to serve as the ranking member,” he said at the business meeting. “All members are reminded that serving from time to time as the chair or ranking member is an expectation for members of this committee.”

The committee confirmed 30 nominees by voice vote, including David Cohen to be ambassador to Canada, Claire Cronin to be ambassador to Ireland, Mark Gitenstein to be the U.S. representative to the European Union, former Republican senator Jeff Flake to be ambassador to Turkey, former senator Tom Udall to be ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa, and Thomas Nides to be ambassador to Israel. 

Two nominees who had been expected to be confirmed by the committee on Tuesday were held back due to objections by at least one lawmaker. The nominations of Barbara Leaf to be assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs and C.S. Eliot Kang to be assistant secretary of state for international security and non-proliferation, were not sent to the full Senate. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who has blocked a number of State nominees over the Biden administration’s handling of the Russian Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, has put a hold on Leaf’s nomination, Politico reported. 

The White House on Monday slammed Republicans in the Senate for the “unprecedented delays, obstructions, [and] holds” on nominees, including those at the State Department. 

“There has been, time after time, obstruction that has prevented qualified nominees from being in vital positions, whether it's in the national security roles in the Defense Department [or] the State Department, where we've seen ambassadors held for weeks and months,” White House spokesperson Jen Psaki said at the briefing. “So, I would say the blame is clear. It is frustrating. It is something that we wish would move forward more quickly. And there is historical precedent, of course, of moving these forward through a faster process.”

The Senate has confirmed just 20 State Department officials nominated by President Joe Biden, according to data from the Brookings Institution. In their first 300 days, the George W. Bush administration had 133 State Department officials, the Obama administration had 92 and the Trump administration had 55. Biden will hit 300 days in office on Nov. 16. 

Biden has just one confirmed ambassador serving abroad. Ken Salazar was confirmed in August to serve as the ambassador to Mexico. Linda Thomas-Greenfield was confirmed in February as the ambassador to the United Nations, which is based in the United States.  

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.