Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) is leading delegation to devastated nation.
Ian Swanson 10/31/13 05:00 AM EDT
Obama asked Hillary Clinton to stay on for an extra year as secretary of State.
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.
Democrat Rep. Cummings, ranking member on Issa's panel, said the trip violates Issa's own rules that congressional delegations be bipartisan.
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.”
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.
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.
The State Department next week will come one step closer to getting an inspector general for the first time in more than five years.
The Senate Foreign Relations panel will hold a hearing on Steve Linick, currently the federal housing agency's watchdog, on Tuesday. President Obama nominated Linick last month after bipartisan complaints and a threat from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) to hold up all State Department nominations until Obama picked someone.
Linick was confirmed as inspector general of the Federal Housing Finance Agency in 2010.
Grassley wants information on Abedin's role at the State Department after she quit her job with Hillary Clinton.
The Senate's newest member has been awarded a spot on the Foreign Relations Committee.
Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) was sworn in Tuesday after winning the race to replace the panel's former chairman, John Kerry. He will take the spot vacated by Bob Casey (D-Penn.), who left the committee after Markey's swearing in.
Casey, who chaired the Near East and South/Central Asia subpanel, gave up his seat as part of his move to the Finance Committee, where he replaced Kerry in February. He remains a member of the National Security Working Group as well the co-Chair of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Terrorism Caucus.
Markey will also serve on the Commerce and Small Business panels. Markey is one of 12 first-term senators on the 16-member committee, which has lost much of its institutional knowledge with last year's defeat of ranking member Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) and Kerry's nomination to secretary of State.