In today's Post, Anne Gearan and Ed O'Keefe report on how political disputes in the Senate are preventing the confirmation of key State Department nominees. While the Senate fiddles, 33 countries are currently without a U.S. ambassador. They range from key strategic partners (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Yemen) to our own neighbors (Canada, The Bahamas).

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All told, 16 ambassadorial appointees have languished in the Senate for over six months. The State Department is now raising concerns that the backlog is negatively affecting U.S. relations abroad.

Update: on March 6, 2014, the Senate confirmed Michael Hammer as U.S. Ambassador to Chile.