Senate confirms State, Homeland Security nominees

The Senate voted 58-42 Thursday to confirm Rose Gottemoeller to be Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security — a role she has been working in for nearly two years.

Some Republicans opposed her nomination because they said she hadn’t done enough to ensure Russia is following its nuclear disarmament agreement with the United States. They said her confirmation would make the U.S. “less safe.”

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“We have repeatedly made clear to the Obama administration our concerns about Ms. Gottemoeller’s role in failing to quickly pursue evidence of Russia’s compliance with multiple arms control agreements and her delay in making the Senate aware of these violations,” Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas), Jim Risch (R-Idaho) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said earlier this week. “We wanted assurances that these issues were being treated seriously at the highest levels of this administration, and have received none.”

But with the new Senate filibuster rules, Gottemoeller needed only 51 votes to end debate on her confirmation. The Senate voted 55-45 Wednesday to advance the nominee.

Senate Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) said Gottemoeller would be strong against Iran and North Korea’s nuclear programs. 

“We can all agree we have a new set of nuclear proliferation challenges,” Menendez said. “We need to confirm this nominee to be in a position of authority to fully update and implement those positions … when so much is at stake with Syria, Iran and Russia.”

The Senate also confirmed Suzanne Spaulding to be Under Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security by voice-vote Thursday.

And John Roth was confirmed by voice-vote to serve as Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security.