February 11, 2016 11:14 AM

Republicans objects to Jacobson nomination

Senator Udall asked unanimous consent that the Senate proceed to vote on Executive Calendar #365, the nomination of Roberta S. Jacobson, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the United Mexican States.

Senator Lee objected on behalf of Senator Rubio.

Unofficial Transcript:

UDALL: MADAM PRESIDENT, I WANT TO SAY A FEW WORDS ABOUT

THIS. I WOULD -- THIS IS THE NOMINATION OF ROBERTA JACOBSON TO

BE AMBASSADOR TO MEXICO, ROBERTA JACOBSON TO BE AMBASSADOR TO

MEXICO. THIS IS ONE OF THE CRITICAL POSITIONS WITH ONE OF OUR

NATION'S LARGEST TRADING PARTNERS. IT'S NOW BEEN VACANT FOR

OVER A HALF A YEAR. IMPORTANT WORK IS LEFT UNDONE. WE ALSO HAVE

IN THIS INDIVIDUAL, ROBERTA JACOBSON, A HIGHLY QUALIFIED CAREER

NOMINEE. SHE'S READY TO SERVE. SHE HAS SOLID SUPPORT ON BOTH

SIDES OF THE AISLE. THERE'S NO DOUBT IN MY MIND, AND I THINK

MANY SENATORS' MINDS, THAT WE NEED A STRONG AMBASSADOR IN

MEXICO CITY TO REPRESENT OUR INTERESTS. MEXICO IS WORKING WITH

US TO STOP THOSE WHO CROSS OUR SOUTHERN BORDER ILLEGALLY.

MEXICO IS OUR THIRD LARGEST TRADING PARTNER. ONE MILLION

AMERICAN CITIZENS LIVE IN MEXICO. IT IS OUR TOP TOURIST

DESTINATION, WITH MILLIONS OF U.S. VISITORS GOING TO MEXICO

EVERY YEAR. THERE'S A LOT OF WORK TO BE DONE ON COMBATING

ILLEGAL DRUG TRADE, INCLUDING THE TRAFFICKING OF ILLEGAL

OPIOIDS. REFORMING THE JUDICIARY AND CREATING ECONOMIC

OPPORTUNITIES ON BOTH SIDES OF THE BORDER. THAT'S SOMETHING

WE'RE WORKING ON TOGETHER. AND WE'RE WORKING TOGETHER TO

ADDRESS IMMIGRATION ISSUES WHILE CRACKING DOWN ON DEADLY BORDER

VIOLENCE. IN NEW MEXICO, WE KNOW THE IMPORTANCE OF THIS

POSITION AND THIS PARTNERSHIP WITH MEXICO. MY STATE SHARES A

BORDER WITH MEXICO. WE ALSO SHARE A CULTURAL HERITAGE AND TRADE

THAT GROWS WITH MEXICO EVERY YEAR. EXPORTS FROM NEW MEXICO TO

MEXICO HAVE SOARED FROM OVER $70 MILLION 15 YEARS AGO TO $1.5

BILLION A YEAR NOW. OVER 36,000 JOBS IN MY STATE DEPEND ON

U.S.-MEXICO TRADE. ARIZONA, CALIFORNIA AND TEXAS ALSO SHARE

SIMILAR AND DEEP RELATIONS WITH THE MEXICAN PEOPLE AND ARE NOT

-- AND NOT CONFIRMING THIS NOMINEE HARMS THOSE STATES AS WELL.

AND LET ME JUST SAY A WORD, MADAM PRESIDENT, ABOUT ROW AT THE

BAH JAKE -- ROBERTA JACOBSON. SHE IS A DEDICATED PUBLIC

SERVANT. THE "L.A. TIMES" HAS CALLED ROBERTA JACOBSON -- AND I

QUOTE NOW -- "AMONG THE MOST QUALIFIED PEOPLE EVER TO BE TAPPED

TO REPRESENT THE U.S. IN MEXICO." ROBERTA HAS WORKED ON THE

MAREATA INITIATIVE TO FIGHT DRUG TRAFFICKING AND ORGANIZED

CRIME IN MEXICO. SHE SERVED ABLY AS ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR THE

WESTERN HEMISPHERE -- WESTERN HEMISPHERE'S AFFAIRS AT THE STATE

DEPARTMENT. LAST YEAR THE PRESIDENT REESTABLISHED DIPLOMATIC

RELATIONS WITH CUBA. AFTER OVER 50 YEARS OF A FAILED POLICY

WITH CUBA, ROBERTA HELPED NEGOTIATE THIS HISTORIC SHIFT, GIVING

THE UNITED STATES AN OPPORTUNITY TO ENGAGE WITH THE CUBAN

PEOPLE. TIME AND AGAIN SHE DID HER JOB AND SHE DID IT VERY

WELL. SHE WAS APPROVED BY THE SENATE FOREIGN RELATIONS

COMMITTEE WITH BIPARTISAN SUPPORT. THIS WAS WEEKS AGO AND STILL

WE WAIT FOR THIS NOMINATION TO COME TO THE FLOOR AND GET A

VOTE. MADAM PRESIDENT, IT'S HARD TO EXPLAIN TO MY CONSTITUENTS

THAT WE DO NOT HAVE AN AMBASSADOR TO MEXICO BECAUSE A FEW

SENATORS DISAGREE WITH THE PRESIDENT'S POLICY ON CUBA. THEY

DON'T UNDERSTAND IT. THE FOLKS BACK HOME DON'T UNDERSTAND IT

AND NEITHER DO I. THIS IS NOT JUST THE PRESIDENT'S TEAM. THIS

IS OUR TEAM. THIS IS AMERICA'S TEAM WORKING ON TRADE, ON

SECURITY, MOVING OUR ECONOMY AND MOVING ALL OF US FORWARD. WE

NEED AN AMBASSADOR IN MEXICO CITY. ROBERTA JACOBSON IS MORE

QUALIFIED TO SERVE THAN ANYBODY THAT HAS BEEN PUT UP IN MANY,

MANY, MANY YEARS. AND SO I WOULD URGE MY COLLEAGUES TO -- I

KNOW WE HAVE AN OBJECTION NOW BUT I WOULD URGE THEM TO SORT

THIS OUT AND BRING IT TO THE FLOOR. AND I WOULD ASK THE

LEADERSHIP TO MAKE THIS A PRIORITY. AND I THANK YOU, AND I YIELD