This Is the Hill Sam Brownback Wants to Die On
Apparently, Chris Hill’s testimony this morning didn’t change Sen. Sam Brownback’s (R-Kans.) mind. On the Senate floor just now, Brownback delivered a blistering denunciation of the Obama administration’s ambassador-designate to Iraq, owing to what he called Hill’s “dishonesty” and even lawlessness when Hill was the Bush administration’s envoy to the six-party talks with North Korea. He gave the Bush administration, which signed off on Hill’s negotiations with the North, a pass, while placing the blame for sidelining human-rights concerns entirely with the envoy, and dissented from the idea that the United States gained anything materially from negotiations with the North despite the destruction of the cooling towers at the nuclear reactor at Yongbyon and the return of international arms monitors. “I do not acquiesce to this nomination,” he said.
What he didn’t say, though, was whether he’d attempt to place a hold on the nomination if it clears the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. I’ve got a call out to his spokeswoman to determine that and will update when I hear. The committee expects to vote on Hill’s nomination on March 31.
It remains something of a quixotic fight for Brownback. No senator expressed opposition to Hill during this morning’s nomination hearing, and the Pentagon has gone on record in saying that the ambassadorship in Baghdad needs to be filled as soon as possible.
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