GOP Senators Delay Key Arms-Control Appointment at State

Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), left, confers with Senator James Risch (R-Idaho) during a 2012 Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing. The lawmakers asked to delay panel votes scheduled for this week on approving two State Department arms-control appointments.
National Journal
Diane Barnes
Jan. 17, 2014, 10 a.m.

A U.S. Sen­ate pan­el this week delayed vot­ing to con­firm a key State De­part­ment arms-con­trol nom­in­ee chal­lenged by GOP law­makers over U.S. nuc­le­ar policy.

At the re­quest of Re­pub­lic­an Sen­at­ors Marco Ru­bio (Fla.) and James Risch (Idaho), the Sen­ate For­eign Re­la­tions Com­mit­tee post­poned a vote to ap­prove Rose Got­te­moeller’s ap­point­ment as un­der­sec­ret­ary of State for arms con­trol and in­ter­na­tion­al se­cur­ity, pan­el Chair­man Robert Men­en­dez (D-N.J.) said on Wed­nes­day.

The GOP law­makers also held up a vote to con­firm Deputy As­sist­ant Sec­ret­ary of State for Space and De­fense Policy Frank Rose to fill Got­te­moeller’s va­cated role in over­see­ing treaty veri­fic­a­tion and com­pli­ance at the de­part­ment.

Men­en­dez pledged to put their names for­ward again after the Sen­ate re­turns from re­cess later this month.

The pan­el en­dorsed both ap­point­ments last Oc­to­ber, but they re­quire re-ap­prov­al be­cause Sen­ate Demo­crats have altered the cham­ber’s con­firm­a­tion rules since that time through the so-called “nuc­le­ar op­tion.”

One is­sue ex­pert linked Ru­bio’s re­quest for the delays in part to Got­te­moeller’s re­fus­al “to be pinned down” dur­ing her con­firm­a­tion hear­ing on the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion’s stance on po­ten­tial new nuc­le­ar-arms re­duc­tions.

“What Ru­bio is do­ing on these nom­in­a­tions and what oth­er Re­pub­lic­ans are do­ing on oth­er nom­in­a­tions is slow-walk­ing them,” John Isaacs, ex­ec­ut­ive dir­ect­or of the Coun­cil for a Liv­able World, told Glob­al Se­cur­ity News­wire on Fri­day.

“We need to get these people to be moved,” Men­en­dez, speak­ing at his com­mit­tee’s Wed­nes­day busi­ness meet­ing, said re­gard­ing his sup­port for ad­van­cing the pending nom­in­a­tions. “We can­not … move for­ward on some of these crit­ic­al [areas] of arms con­trol and in­ter­na­tion­al se­cur­ity and veri­fic­a­tion and com­pli­ance without hav­ing people in those po­s­i­tions.”

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