WASHINGTON – A total of 19 U.S. Latino lawmakers sent a letter to Republican presidential hopeful – and Florida senator – Marco Rubio asking him to stop blocking confirmation of the assistant secretary of state for the Western Hemisphere, Roberta Jacobson, as ambassador to Mexico, congressional officials reported Monday.
The legislators emphasized the U.S. government’s need to have a diplomatic representative in the capital of our southern neighbor as soon as possible, given that – after the exit of the man who had filled that post up until July, Tony Wayne – the post is vacant.
“As you know, the United States and Mexico share a 2,000 mile long border and at a time when American faces dire threats from abroad, it is critical that we continue to build on the invaluable security partnership between our two nations,” wrote the legislators, including Congressional Hispanic Caucus chairwoman Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.) and Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.), adding that Mexico is Washington’s third-largest trading partner.
The lawmakers told Rubio that he has been blocking Jacobson’s nomination process “for reasons that have nothing to do with her qualifications or even the (Obama) Administration’s policies” with Mexico and they strongly urged him to end his “misguided hold” on her nomination.
“While I understand Sen. Rubio has his own political ambitions to serve, there is absolutely no justification for holding up the nomination of a qualified woman as Ambassador to Mexico. It’s time for Sen. Rubio to get out of the way and allow ... Jacobson’s nomination to be considered by the full ... Senate before the end of the year,” said Sanchez.
Rubio, who since the Republicans regained control of the Senate last year has headed the upper chamber’s Latin American Affairs Subcommittee, has been blocking the confirmation vote on the woman who headed U.S. negotiations with Cuba to reestablish diplomatic relations.
The Florida senator, who is a well-known opponent of the Castro regime, is also one of the main opponents of the rapprochement between the two countries and does not seem to be willing to withdraw his objection to Jacobson’s confirmation in the near future.
The long-time diplomat has already obtained the support of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and it is forecast that she would have enough votes to be confirmed by the full body.
However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell also appears to have no particular interest in making Jacobson’s vote a priority, a situation that could delay the process for months.
Also signing the letter to Rubio were Reps. Xavier Becerra, Tony Cardenas, Joaquin Castro, Jim Costa, Ruben Hinojosa, Ben Ray Lujan, Michelle Lujan Grisham, Grace Napolitano, Lucille Roybal-Allard, Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan, Loretta Sanchez, Jose Serrano, Norma Torres, Juan Vargas and Nydia Velazquez.