Washington, DC – Foreign Policy for America condemns Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL)’s announcement that he will prevent the Senate from considering the nominations of Nicholas Burns to serve as Ambassador to China and Julissa Reynoso Pantaleón to serve as Ambassador to Spain.
“At a time when there is bipartisan agreement that the United States must devote more attention to its relationship with China, it’s incomprehensible that Senator Rubio would use parliamentary tricks to prevent the full Senate from considering the nomination of a highly qualified candidate for one of our most consequential diplomatic posts,” said Foreign Policy for America Executive Director Andrew Albertson. “Ambassador Burns has served Presidents of both parties with distinction and will bring decades of experience to the role of U.S. Ambassador to China. Ambassador Julissa Reynoso Pantaleón brings her own experience and qualifications to the role of U.S. Ambassador to Spain and leaving this important position vacant sends a harmful message to an important partner and ally. If Senator Rubio has concerns with the qualifications of Ambassador Burns or Ambassador Reynoso, we encourage him to make that case to his colleagues on the Senate floor ahead of up or down votes.”
As of November 17, 2021, President Biden has submitted 124 nominees for confirmable positions at the Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development to the Senate. Of those 124, the Senate has only confirmed 30. Senator Rubio joins Senators Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley in using holds to prevent more confirmations and leverage political power. On October 28, 2021, nearly 350 former national security and foreign service officials signed a letter calling for urgent action by the Senate to confirm nominated Department of State and USAID officials, highlighting the impact these vacancies have on U.S. national security.