Senate confirms Obama nominee to pro-Palestinian UN group

The Senate voted to confirm several of President Obama’s executive nominees, including Crystal Nix-Hines to serve as the U.S. representative to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Nix-Hines was confirmed on a 52-41 vote on Thursday.

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Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.) said he opposed her nomination because the administration is trying to circumvent U.S. law regarding funding to UNESCO, which recognizes the Palestinian state.

“I cannot support funding UNESCO as long as the Palestinian Authority is a member,” Coats said ahead of the vote.

Coats said her nomination would harm Israel because it sends that message that the administration will support organizations that recognize a Palestinian state. Under current law, the United States cannot support such organizations. 

Coats said Nix-Hines called that law “cowardly.” He said that statement offended him because he supports the law.

“Her nomination will result in the fact that the administration is sending a representative to an organization in which we do not fund and have no vote,” Coats said. “That can only mean that the administration is seeking to change that.”

Three more nominees were confirmed by voice vote. Their names and new titles follow:

- Michael McCord, undersecretary of Defense (Comptroller)

- R. Jane Chu, chairwoman of the National Endowment for the Arts

- Todd Batta, an assistant secretary of Agriculture