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Senate logjam on ambassadors breaking?

State Department (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
(J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

The Senate logjam on confirming career foreign service officers for long-vacant ambassadorships appears to be breaking.

Last week, the Senate confirmed  Brian A. Nichols for Peru, and on Wednesday it approved Thomas P. Kelly III for Djibouti.

On Thursday afternoon, it filled two critical slots, unanimously approving Stuart Jones for Baghdad and Robert Beecroft,who had been in Baghdad, for the Cairo post, which had been vacant since August.

This comes on the heels of the White House using the daily press briefing this week to blast the Republicans for the slow crawl confirmations. And the WH blog posted on it as well. Republicans charge that it’s Democrats who control the floor schedule so it’s their decision not to bring up ambassadors for a vote. Democrats contend that Republicans have slowed the process by not letting them through by unanimous consent.

In other State personnel news, Ambassador to China Max Baucus will welcome a familiar face at the embassy next week. Veteran Hill aide Scott Mulhauser, a fixture around Capitol Hill for more than a decade and a senior staffer for Baucus on the Senate Finance Committee for three of them, is off to Beijing on Sunday to be Baucus’s chief of staff. Mulhauser also was a top aide for Vice President Biden on the 2012 re-election campaign, and most recently worked as chief of staff at the Export-Import Bank.

一路顺风, Scott!

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993.
Colby Itkowitz is the lead anchor of the Inspired Life blog. She previously covered the quirks of national politics and the federal government.

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