BREAKING: After Unrelenting Advocacy from Shaheen, Senate Approves Nominee to Lead the Office of Global Women’s Issues
(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement after the Senate approved the nomination of Dr. Geeta Rao Gupta to lead the Office of Global Women’s Issues at the U.S. Department of State. Shaheen was instrumental in unlocking Gupta’s nomination, which endured over a year of Republican obstruction.
Senator Shaheen championed efforts in the Senate to confirm Dr. Gupta for the Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues role and railed against Republican obstruction which previously prevented Gupta’s confirmation from advancing. On the Senate floor last year, Shaheen repeatedly highlighted the need for an ambassador dedicated to advancing the rights and empowerment of women and girls in the U.S. and around the world, and slammed Republicans’ obstruction blocking the confirmation of Dr. Gupta and other qualified nominees – particularly on the grounds of falsehoods and political games. In December, Shaheen lambasted Senate Republicans for their obsession over women’s reproductive health – over which this role has no jurisdiction – which blocked this nomination.
After breaking through 18 months of Republican obstruction, Shaheen delivered remarks on the Senate floor last week lauding the advancement of Gupta’s nomination when the Senate voted on a procedural motion to advance Gupta’s confirmation and paved the way for today’s vote.
“Dr. Gupta will be a remarkable ambassador and the advocate that women and girls around the globe urgently need and deserve. I’m relieved that at long last the partisan brinkmanship preventing her confirmation is over, however, the unnecessary and shameful grandstanding that blocked her nomination for a year-and-a-half is one instance in a pattern of obstruction from Senate Republicans. Their behavior is grinding the Senate to a halt and burdening the confirmation process in a way that has made it untenable,” said Shaheen. “For 18 months, the position of Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues sat vacant because of partisan politics at its very worst. Obstruction from a group of Republicans limited the United States’ ability to center the needs of women and girls in responding to situations like those in Afghanistan, Iran, Sudan, Ukraine and other parts of the world where gender-based violence and discrimination are daily occurrences.”
Shaheen concluded, “Dr. Gupta’s nomination was sadly not the first example of partisan games by some Republican lawmakers that prevented the Senate from doing its job, but there is something tremendously heartbreaking to see a role dedicated to empowering women and girls be used to score political points. GOP opposition to other nominees, both within the Department of Defense and the Department of State, actively undermines our national security by relinquishing U.S. diplomatic influence to adversaries like China and Russia. It has to stop. The U.S. Senate needs to be able to function and confirm nominees. Enough is enough.”
Shaheen has a strong history of unlocking pivotal nominations in the U.S. Senate in the face of Republican obstruction. Shaheen has routinely underscored the serious national security threats posed by Republican opposition to ambassadorial nominations around the globe, which hinders U.S. diplomacy and cedes U.S. influence in regions that often have a diplomatic presence from adversarial nations, including Russia and China.