WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, praised the confirmation of seven nominees by the Senate on Friday, February 12th. The nominees confirmed were: Sunil Sabharwal to be U.S. Alternative Executive Director of the IMF, Azita Raji, of California, to be Ambassador to the Kingdom of Sweden, Brian Egan to be Legal Adviser of the Department of State, Samuel D. Heins, of Minnesota, to be Ambassador to the Kingdom of Norway, John L. Estrada, of Florida, to be Ambassador to the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, Thomas A. Shannon, Jr., of Virginia, to be Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, and David McKean, of Massachusetts, to be Ambassador to Luxembourg.
“I am pleased to see the Senate move forward and confirm these seven nominees. Some of these highly-qualified individuals had been waiting for over a year for this day,” said Senator Cardin. “These positions are vital to fostering positive relations with our allies throughout the world and maintaining the United States’ role as a leader in the global community. America’s national security is impacted when key positions are left unfilled, particularly for reasons that have nothing to do with the qualifications of the nominees.
“The Senate’s job is not yet complete, however. Many worthy nominees still await confirmation, including Adam Szubin, the nominee to be Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Crimes, and Laura Holgate, the nominee to be Ambassador and U.S. Representative to the Vienna Office of the United Nations and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Mr. Szubin served as the Director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control in the Treasury Department from 2006 to 2015, and has served under both Republican and Democratic administrations with integrity and ability. The position to which Mr. Szubin is nominated is vital to the campaign against the Islamic State, as it is tasked with identifying and disrupting the lines of financial support to international terrorist organizations, among many other responsibilities. Laura Holgate, who currently serves as the Senior Director for Weapons of Mass Destruction Terrorism and Threat Reduction on the National Security Council, has spent 14 years in senior positions in the Departments of Energy and Defense, building and leading global coalitions to prevent states and terrorists from acquiring and using weapons of mass destruction. Confirming a highly qualified nominee to this post has never been more critical, so that our representative can strongly advocate for vigorous enforcement by the IAEA of Iran’s nuclear obligations, and can represent the U.S. position on North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.
“I hope that we can expedite the remainder of the nominations backlog to allow our dedicated public servants to get to work on behalf of the American people.”