Congressional Delegations

Congressional Delegations

Obama names new director general for the State Department

President Obama on Friday named his ambassador to Guatemala, Arnold Chacon, to serve as director general of the foreign service.

The director general is an administrative position created by the 1946 Foreign Service Act. Directors general also serve as director of the Bureau of Personnel. 


Susan Rice 'grateful' for Obama's support during Benghazi uproar

National Security Adviser Susan Rice thanked President Obama for standing up to Republicans critical of her explanation for the Benghazi terror attack and hinted at a future Senate run in an interview in September's edition of Vogue.

Rice told the fashion magazine that she “wouldn't rule it out” when asked about her childhood dream of becoming a senator. The former ambassador to the United Nations also declared herself “very grateful” that the president publicly defended her when she came under attack on Benghazi.

“My first reaction was that it's a damn shame that the president of the United States has to spend time at a press conference right after he's been reelected talking about this. And me!” Rice said in the interview, which was conducted in June, before she took over as the president's national security adviser. 

“On one level I was embarrassed and chagrined. But on another level, I was very moved and grateful that he said what he said and said it with obvious feeling.”


Senate panel clears 14 ambassador nominations

The Senate Foreign Relations panel on Tuesday cleared 14 of President Obama's nominees for ambassadorial posts, including several top donors and political allies.

Obama has nominated at least 21 political appointees to plum ambassadorships so far in his second term, most recently, Caroline Kennedy to serve in Tokyo. The nominees approved Tuesday include Obama’s campaign finance chairman, Rufus Gifford, tapped to serve in Denmark; top bundlers James Costos and Denise Bauer to serve in Spain and Belgium, respectively; and Patrick Gaspard, former Democratic National Committee executive director, to South Africa.

The panel also approved nominees to serve in Australia, Ethiopia, the African Union, Laos, Congo, Malaysia, Nigeria, Greece and Germany, while approving Linda Thomas-Greenfield to be assistant secretary of State for African affairs.


Kaine grabs Middle East panel chairmanship

Freshman Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) is taking over the chairmanship of the high-profile Senate Foreign Relations panel on the Middle East in a committee shake-up.

Former panel chairman Robert Casey (D-Pa.) left the committee two weeks ago after the Senate's newest member, Edward Markey (D-Mass.), was awarded one of the 10 Democratic spots on the full committee. Markey is expected to replace Kaine atop the subpanel on foreign aid and economic affairs.

“I am honored to assume the chairmanship of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South and Central Asian Affairs,” Kaine said. “The important region from Morocco to Pakistan includes many of America's strongest allies as well as some of the world's toughest challenges.