President Barack Obama has designated a new ambassador for Costa Rica. There may be some time before the man, Stafford Fitzgerald Haney, a New York investment firm executive, arrives.
Haney needs to be approved by the U.S. Senate. Secretary of State John Kerry said this week in a published column that 53 State Department nominees are pending in the Senate.
“Thirty-seven of them have been approved by the Foreign Relations Committee and could be confirmed immediately with a simple vote,” said Kerry. “The majority of the nominees, 35 in all, are apolitical career diplomats, and none of them are controversial.”
“There is a solution staring us in the face — and that answer is the powerful example of how military nominees are traditionally treated by the Senate,” he said. “The administration’s military nominees are confirmed quickly and en bloc, which is the proper way to handle them. For America to play a strong role in the world, we need equal treatment for diplomats. The Senate should carve out State’s career nominees and expedite their confirmation just as it does for military promotions.”
Kerry accused the Senate, a body to which he recently belonged, with hobbling American diplomacy..
Speaking of terrorism in Africa, he said that “Boko Haram’s horrifying abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls in Nigeria ignited universal calls for help to ‘bring back our girls.’ President Barack Obama responded with urgency, but lost in the story is that one tool the United States would like to have at our disposal is hampered by the absence of U.S. ambassadors in neighboring Cameroon and Niger.”
Like Costa Rica, the embassies in those two African countries have been without an ambassador for at least eight months, he said.
Unlike most of the ambassador designates, Haney is not a career diplomat but a political supporter of Obama and a contributor to Democratic causes. So senators are unlike to give him approval in a group.
Kerry wrote his opinion article for the Washington publication Politico and the text was released by the State Department Wednesday.