How UNA-USA Members Helped Expedite Senate Confirmation of Nominees for Critical Diplomatic Posts
The Biden Administration has made history on two fronts and in two starkly different ways—the most diverse set of confirmed appointees and the fewest nominees in place at the 300-day mark. As it stands, women represent half of the confirmed appointees, exceeding his three predecessors by a sizeable amount. Plus, almost 40% of the Biden administration confirmed nominees are nonwhite; representing a stark change from the Trump administration that reached 14% in the first 300 days.
That being said, the Senate has confirmed only about 150 of President Biden’s nominees to the 15 major executive departments, a historic low when compared with his three predecessors. And the Department with the fewest number of confirmed appointees after 300 days is the State Dept., which is due to stalling tactics pursued by Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Josh Hawley (R-MO). This has left key positions in multilateral diplomacy—including the Assistant Secretary for State’s International Organizations Bureau as well as the U.S. Ambassador for UN Reform, and Ambassador to the UN in Geneva — empty at a time when the U.S. faces multiplying challenges around the world.
In light of this critical senior personnel shortage, BWC and UNA teamed up in writing a letter to push Majority Leader Schumer and the Administration to prioritize swift confirmation of these nominees. This effort, along with UNA calls and emails to Senators across the country, helped bring much needed attention to an issue that had not made much news for months. In late December, due in part to our collective efforts, a deal was reached that allowed for several dozen State Department nominees to be confirmed by the Senate, including the positions mentioned above. This was another example of the power of our presence!