House lawmaker runs to aid of U.N. nominee

Rep. Scott Garrett (R-N.J.) is expected to introduce a House resolution in the next two weeks supporting John Bolton, President Bush’s embattled nominee for United Nations ambassador.

Garrett began circulating a “Dear Colleague” letter Friday to drum up support for the resolution, which he was expected to introduce “soon,” according to an e-mail sent yesterday morning by the Republican Study Committee, a group of more than 100 House conservatives.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee postponed its confirmation vote on Bolton last week after Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio) surprised his committee colleagues by announcing that he was not ready to confirm the administration’s choice to be the next U.N. ambassador.

Two other committee Republicans, Sens. Chuck Hagel (Neb.) and Lincoln Chafee (R.I.), had also wavered publicly in their support of Bolton.

The next vote is expected two weeks from today, when the Senate returns from its one-week recess.

The Garrett letter was a strong statement of support for the besieged nominee without explicitly advocating his confirmation. Garrett leads the RSC’s whip operation.

“I am introducing a resolution thanking Mr. Bolton for his longstanding history of confronting corruption at the UN and urging him to continue his steadfast hard work and dedication to end corruption and restore the credibility of his world body,” Garrett wrote in his letter.

Garrett’s resolution is also highly critical of the United Nations, citing “widespread mismanagement” of the oil-for-food program in Iraq along with the 150 accusations of “major” human-rights violations leveled at U.N.-sanctioned peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the world body’s inability to declare that genocide has taken place in the Darfur region of Sudan.

The letter was sent in the same week that House conservatives encouraged their Senate colleagues to support Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) in his drive to confirm Bush’s judicial nominees. Senate Democrats have threatened to slow work in the upper body if Frist uses the so-called “nuclear option” to prevent their ability to filibuster those nominees.

Bolton’s confirmation has been a rocky road from the outset. During confirmation testimony, former colleagues have repeatedly questioned his treatment of subordinate employees.

In addition, Senate Democrats have questioned some of his highly critical writings about the United Nations as well as his decisions not to process certain classified information during his tenure at the State Department.

A Wall Street Journal editorial from Thursday denouncing Bolton’s critics in the Senate was attached to the Garrett letter.

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