Senate Approves Ambassadors After Democrats Deal With Helms
WASHINGTON (AP) _ Democrats have cut a deal with the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to win final approval for 15 of President Clinton’s long-delayed ambassadorial appointments.
Sen. Jesse Helms, R-N.C., had been sitting on all nominations sent to his committee since Democrats prevented a vote on his plans to dismantle the government’s foreign aid agency and two other foreign affairs operations.
The agreement cleared the way for a Senate vote on revamping the State Department.
Senate rules require 60 votes to cut off debate on an issue, and Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, R-Kan., pulled Helms’ bill off the floor when it became apparent Democrats wouldn’t allow it go to a vote.
``In exchange for a full Senate vote, Helms agreed to have the Senate immediately vote″ on all ambassadorial nominations pending before his committee, his office said in a statement.
The ambassadors were confirmed by voice vote.
State Department officials said as many as 30 nominations could have been affected, including that of former Tennessee Democratic Sen. James Sasser to be ambassador to China. Beijing agreed to the posting after a long delay.
The State Department revamp bill, which the Clinton administration has said would be vetoed, will come to a vote sometime after Congress returns from a week-long break. Two hours of debate will be allowed on each side.
The bill would fold three agencies into the State Department in a cost-saving plan: the Agency for International Development, the U.S. Information Agency and the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency.
The administration says the consolidation would cost more money initially than it would save. But over four years, according to Helms, the measure would save $3.67 billion.
The bill would also establish an ``America Desk″ at the State Department to promote U.S. commercial interests around the world and gradually reduce U.S. contributions to U.N. peacekeeping operations. In addition, it would require the president to notify Congress 15 days before casting a vote in the U.N. Security Council on any U.N. military deployment.
Clinton said the bill threatens his ability to ``protect and promote American interests around the world.″
The confirmed ambassadors and the countries where they will serve are David C. Litt, United Arab Emirates; Patrick Nickolas Theros, Qatar; David L. Hobbs, Guyana; William J. Hughes, Panama; Michael William Cotter, Turkmenistan; A. Elizabeth Jones, Kazakhstan; and John K. Menzies, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Also, John Todd Stewart, Moldova; Peggy Blackford, Guinea-Bissau; Edward Brynn, Ghana; Vicki J. Huddleston, Madagascar; Elizabeth Raspolic, Gabonese Republic and the Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe; Daniel Howard Simpson, Zaire; John M. Yates, Benin; and James E. Goodby, principal negotiator for nuclear safety and disarmament with the rank of ambassador.