Today, members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), led by Chairman Charles A. Gonzalez, released a statement following the press conference regarding the confirmation of Ambassador Mari Carmen Aponte.
Aponte is President Barack Obama's ambassador to El Salvador. Her future as ambassador is pending because Republicans are resisting her confirmation due to "unfounded rumors that her boyfriend was a Cuban spy and new conservative outrage over a summertime op-ed on gay rights," according to the USA Today.
Aponte is a Washington DC-based Puerto Rico-born attorney who has served as ambassador to El Salvador since 2010 following appointment by President Barack Obama.
"It appears unlikely that all of these Republicans are going to change their mind as far as allowing it to come to a floor vote without a change in attitude about the information," said Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., who is pressing for more details about Aponte, according to USA Today. "All of us think we should have an ambassador in El Salvador, but all of us are concerned that we get people who we know are the right people."
The following statements were made via a CHC press release:
CHC Chairman Gonzalez: "Amb. Aponte has excelled in her position and it is in the best interest of the United States to end the partisan bickering and confirm her. It is essential that the United States have a strong ally in Central America and Amb. Aponte has proven she has the skill, the experience and the commitment to serve as a exemplary diplomat. I urge the Senate to act swiftly and responsibly to confirm her."
Senator Robert Menendez (NJ): "I'm here along with my colleagues of the CHC, to express my full support for Mari Carmen Aponte's nomination to be Ambassador to El Salvador. Ambassador Aponte is unquestionably qualified for the post and has done an outstanding job in El Salvador for over a year now promoting U.S. interests and values. This is Republican obstructionist politics at its worse and I am shocked that they place more value on bringing down an Administration nominee than they do on having a superior Ambassador in San Salvador to promote and guard American bilateral, commercial and security interests."
Rep. Xavier Becerra (CA), Vice Chair of the House Democratic Caucus: "Our diplomacy should know no delay. The Senate should take immediate action to confirm Ambassador Mari Carmen Aponte's status as our nation's Ambassador to El Salvador. Over the past two years, Ambassador Aponte's voice for a strong democracy, human rights and economic prosperity have endeared her to the people of El Salvador. It would be an immeasurable mistake to play politics with her appointment and put on hold our relations with El Salvador."
Rep. Jose Serrano (NY): "The Republicans' shameful blocking of Ambassador Aponte's nomination must end. She is well-qualified and talented, and their arguments against her have been repeatedly debunked. We need people like Ambassador Aponte representing our nation abroad, not stuck in limbo because of a baseless political attack."
Rep. Nydia M. Velazquez (NY): "Those opposing Ambassador Aponte's confirmation are allowing their own political goals to interfere with American-El Salvadoran relations. The Senate should confirm Ambassador Aponte immediately, so she can continue her work in El Salvador."
Rep. Luis Gutierrez (IL): "Between Mari Carmen Aponte and Sonia Sotomayor, there seems to be something amiss over in the Senate with Republicans refusing to confirm strong, smart Puerto Rican women for important positions for which they are eminently qualified. Once maybe, but this is starting to look like a pattern. Ambassador Aponte should get her vote so she can continue doing her job ably serving the American people."
Rep. Dennis Cardoza (CA): "During my recent visit to El Salvador, I had the pleasure of meeting Ms. Aponte and came away extremely impressed. She is a very capable diplomat and I wholeheartedly support her confirmation. In my travels around the world, I have met many ambassadors. No where have I seen a staff champion their leader as much as Ms. Aponte's team endorses her to be the permanent U.S. ambassador to El Salvador."
CHC was founded in December 1976, is organized as a Congressional Member organization, governed under the Rules of the U.S. House of Representatives. The CHC is dedicated to voicing and advancing, through the legislative process, issues affecting Hispanics in the United States, Puerto Rico and U.S. Territories.
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