Senate Foreign Relations Chair: 'Highly Unlikely' Cuba Ambassador Will Be Approved

Wednesday, September 28, 2016
From Reuters:

U.S. senator: 'Unlikely' Cuba ambassador will be approved this year

The chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which oversees the confirmation of foreign service nominees, said on Wednesday it was "highly unlikely" that an ambassador to Cuba would be approved this year.

President Barack Obama on Tuesday nominated career diplomat Jeffrey DeLaurentis to be the first U.S. ambassador to Cuba in more than five decades.

"The committee was notified of the nomination yesterday but has not yet received the appropriate paperwork to begin its work," Republican Senator Bob Corker said in a statement emailed to Reuters. "However, it is highly unlikely that an ambassador to Cuba would be approved in the lame-duck."

The appointment of DeLaurentis, the top American official at the U.S. embassy in Havana, marked Obama’s latest move to go as far as he can in normalizing ties between the former Cold War foes before he leaves office in January.

But the nomination must be approved by the Republican-controlled Senate, which is seen as a long shot.

Corker's committee would have to hold a confirmation hearing for DeLaurentis and vote to approve his nomination before it would go to the full Senate, where it could be blocked by any senator.