The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

The massive ambassadorial backlog, explained in 2 charts.

Fights over President Obama's judicial and executive branch nominees have been well-documented in the past. But for the first time, the State Department is raising concerns about how the backlog is affecting U.S. relations abroad.

White House nominees to fill dozens of diplomatic jobs and other senior department positions have waited weeks or months for confirmation by the Senate, as The Post's Anne Gearan and Ed O'Keefe report today. Their fate has become a proxy fight in a larger contest between both parties over control of the Senate schedule, and a growing diplomatic headache. The two charts below help visualize the backlog.

First, a look at the dozens of nominees waiting to fill ambassador positions worldwide. The State Department notes that many of the vacancies are in Africa and South America:

In addition to ambassadors, Secretary of State John F. Kerry has complained to lawmakers that several key senior positions at the State Department also remain unfilled. Here's a look at the slots, the nominees and how long they've waited:

Read more on the ambassadorial backlog here — and share your thoughts in the comments section below.