Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today joined Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-NJ) on the Senate floor to call on Senate Republicans to stop obstructing routine nominations and subsequently endangering national security. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks:
I want to thank my friend, the Senator from New Jersey, who will move in a few moments to have this chamber approve a number of critical nominees for our national security and is going to be shamefully blocked. He’s been a great fighter, not only for these men and women, but on foreign policy in general, one of the great leaders. And his passion for this issue comes from a desire to have us have the greatest strength abroad diplomatically and geopolitically as well. So I can't thank him enough.
Of all the mandates of the government, the most important is protecting the American people from threats, foreign or domestic. To do so, the President relies on an army of dedicated public servants: our expert ambassadors, diplomats, undersecretaries, assistant secretaries who play a critical role in our government.
But for months, some Senate Republicans have gone to great lengths to place pointless holds on over 100 of these nominees. The consequence: scores of empty desks in the State Department, in our embassies, in the Department of the Treasury and other agencies.
These nominees are not controversial. They are routinely confirmed by consent in this chamber, until a few people decided that they wanted to make a big show of this for whatever reason.
By this point in the Trump Administration, for instance, both sides worked together to confirm thirty-two ambassadors by voice vote. Most of us didn't like the Trump Administration or the people he’s appointed, but we had enough integrity, enough faith in the future of this country, in the strength of this country not to let politics enter into what had been routine decisions. Right now, Republican obstruction has meant only four such nominees have been agreed to.
So, the bottom line is let me be clear: Republicans who are holding up these nominees are endangering our national security, making it harder for our country to respond to threats at home and abroad.
We hear a lot of talk about national security on the other side, but what it comes down to is they are preventing 32 State Department nominees and at least 10 Defense Department nominees from quick confirmation.
That is wrong and
—I would hope that they would think about
it and let these fine people go through the way that it has been done under
Democratic and Republican administrations in the past.