WASHINGTON D.C.: The White House blamed Senate Republicans on Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila) for putting US national security at risk by thwarting the swift confirmation of a long list of President Barack Obama’s ambassador picks—some to hot-spot nations.
National Security Advisor Susan Rice said 48 of Obama’s nominations for ambassador overseas were pending and awaiting confirmation by the chamber.
“I am focused every day on keeping our country secure and our citizens—at home and abroad —safe,” said Rice in a White House blog post.
“These goals are hindered and our stature abroad is weakened when we are not fielding a full team,” she said.
Rice said a quarter of US ambassadors in Africa were awaiting Senate confirmation, even as extremist threats, like the Boko Haram Islamist group, pose rising national security risks.
She also warned that the US envoy’s seat to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations also remained vacant, at a time when regional tensions are soaring over China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea.
In addition, US positions at the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development remain unfilled.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest also raised concerns about the jammed-up ambassadorial nominations in his daily briefing.