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Posted at 11:36 AM ET, 12/14/2011

Marco Rubio under fire for filibuster of Aponte nomination

Latino lawmakers and organizations are furious over the Senate’s failure to break a GOP filibuster of the nomination of recess appointee Mari Carmen Aponte to remain in her post as ambassador to El Salvador.

The Obama administration and Senate Democrats fell 11 votes short of the 60 needed to bring the nomination to a vote. Without confirmation, Aponte will lose her ambassadorship at the end of this year.

Latinos specifically singled out Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) for blame.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) (Chris O'meara - AP)

Rep. Nydia Velazquez (R-N.Y.) said he “promised to be the voice of Puerto Ricans in the Senate” but declined to “use that voice in support of a Puerto Rican woman who has shown she is immensely qualified.”

Rubio, who voted to maintain the GOP filibuster, said he wasn’t opposed to Aponte but was blocking her nomination and a couple of others to protest administration policy in Latin America. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) led the opposition to Aponte, saying there were questions about her former boyfriend’s ties to Cuban intelligence.
Mari Carmen Aponte, the U.S. ambassador to El Salvador since September 2010 under a recess appointment, may be heading home unless Senate Democrats and the White House can round up enough votes to break a GOP filibuster. (Luis Romero - AP)

Well, Florida’s 850,000 Puerto Ricans are seen as a critical and growing voting bloc, although they made up only about 4 percent of the vote in 2010, according to the Pew Hispanic Center’s analysis of census data. And Rubio’s not up for reelection until 2016.

Of course, Obama and all House members are up next year.

By  |  11:36 AM ET, 12/14/2011

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