MIL-OSI USA: Senate Republicans Block Menendez Motion to Confirm Nominees to Foreign Policy Positions Critical to U.S. Efforts to Counter Malign Chinese Influence Abroad

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US Senate News:

Source: United States Senator for New Jersey Bob Menendez
WASHINGTON –  U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today took to the Floor to make a series of motions seeking the Senate’s immediate confirmation of the nominations of Mr. Leopoldo Martinez to be Executive Director of the Inter-American Development Bank and Dr. Monde Muyangwa to be an Assistant Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development. Both nominations, which are critical to U.S. efforts to counter Chinese malign influence, were blocked by Senator Roger Marshall (R-Kan.).
“Given the significant economic, social, and development challenges in Latin America and the Caribbean, we urgently need Senate-confirmed leadership at our hemisphere’s most important multilateral development bank,” Chairman Menendez said about Mr. Martinez’s nomination, which has been pending for more than nine months. “The Inter-American Development Bank is essential to addressing these issues. It is critical that we have strong U.S. leadership at the bank… It is time for the Senate to act.”
“Authoritarians across Africa have new tactics to subvert democratic movements. They have modern tools to silence dissenting voices. They deploy disinformation campaigns and sophisticated surveillance technology to stay in power. And from Mali to the Central African Republic, dictators are turning to Russian mercenaries for support,” Chairman Menendez said about Dr. Muyangwa’s nomination. “Democracy advocates, human rights defenders, and civil society leaders across the continent are courageously working to realize their aspirations and goals. They need a reliable partner at USAID to keep up the struggle for democracy in their countries. And that is why we have to advance this nomination today.”
 
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On Senator Marshall’s move to block the nomination of Mr. Leopoldo Martinez:
“I’m going to be honest here. This is not really about Mr. Martinez, his experience, or his views. It is just another thinly veiled attempt to block another of the president’s nominees,” Chairman Menendez said. “And to do so at a time in which China is eating our lunch. The next time one of my colleagues gets up and talks about China, I’m going to remind them of the position that they have taken to block one of the critical nominees that could help us meet that challenge in the Western Hemisphere.”
Find a copy of Chairman Menendez’s remarks as delivered below:
“Mr. President, I am rising to ask unanimous consent to consider the nomination of Leopoldo Martinez. This body should confirm him today to serve as Executive Director of the Inter-American Development Bank.
From the world’s highest per capita COVID infection and death rates—to the largest economic contraction anywhere in the world—Latin America and the Caribbean are still struggling to recover from devastating waves of the pandemic.
The region also faces historic refugee and migration movements that stretch across the continent.
And added to this, many of these nations must confront longstanding poverty and inequality as well as climate change and threats to the environment.
Given the significant economic, social, and development challenges in Latin America and the Caribbean, we urgently need Senate-confirmed leadership at our hemisphere’s most important multilateral development bank.
The Inter-American Development Bank is essential to addressing these issues.
It is critical that we have strong U.S. leadership at the bank. Mr. Martinez brings decades of experience in the public and private sectors, as well as academia, and he will provide exactly that. 
He has advised Fortune 500 companies and private equity funds. He has helped international businesses and non-governmental organizations, and he is committed to working with the Senate to support a much needed capital increase for the bank, which we approved as part of the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act last year.
This nomination has been pending for nine months. Nine months. It is time for the Senate to act.
Especially when we have China – and I know my colleagues on the other side of the aisle have spent a lot of time talking about China and whether we are strong enough to meet the China threat well. China is all over the western hemisphere making huge investments. I talked to one foreign leader this past week from the hemisphere. He said to me listen – what’s the U.S. offering? Because I’m being offered $800 million, 1 percent over 30 years. I’m not taking it, but at some point we need to have engagement in the hemisphere economically. That’s what the Inter-American Development Bank can do without costing the U.S. taxpayers money.
But for that you need leadership that is focused on getting the IDB to build the partnerships and programs that can help us have a presence to counter China in the first place and also to promote prosperity, security, and stability.
And for all of those of my colleagues who are concerned about the southern border, let’s get an organization that can help create greater prosperity and stability in the hemisphere and people won’t be fleeing from the circumstances. So I don’t understand why this has taken nine months, but that is what draws me to come to the Floor.

I am going to ask for unanimous consent to confirm Dr. Monde Muyangwa to serve as Assistant Administrator for USAID’s Africa Bureau. This body should confirm her without delay.
The promotion of democracy, a key goal for USAID, is threatened throughout Africa.
In just the past two years, there have been coups in Sudan, Chad, Guinea, Burkina Faso, and two in Mali.
Authoritarians across Africa have new tactics to subvert democratic movements. They have modern tools to silence dissenting voices. They deploy disinformation campaigns and sophisticated surveillance technology to stay in power.
And from Mali to the Central African Republic, dictators are turning to Russian mercenaries for support.
Democracy advocates, human rights defenders, and civil society leaders across the continent are courageously working to realize their aspirations and goals.
They need a reliable partner at USAID to keep up the struggle for democracy in their countries.
And that is why we have to advance this nominee today. Dr. Muyangwa is eminently qualified to lead USAID’s Africa Bureau. She brings extensive professional and academic experience in Africa.
A Zambian-born immigrant to the United States, she has held senior positions at the Wilson Center, the Africa Center for Strategic Studies, and the National Summit on Africa.
She was a Rhodes Scholar. A Wingate Scholar for her scholarship at Oxford. The valedictorian for her graduating class at the University of Zambia.
And she holds a doctorate in International Relations from the University of Oxford.
Do you think she’s well qualified? In short, her qualifications are exceptional.
Finally, let me just say that while Africa faces many challenges—it is also a land of tremendous opportunity.
But here again, China is all over Africa in precious minerals and other precious materials, subverting nascent democracies by their debt-trap diplomacy. And where are we? Absent – because we don’t even have somebody who can focus on the hemisphere. A hemisphere that we should have gotten a lot more votes at the united nations when we were pursuing the sanctions against Russia. But guess what? We don’t have anybody talking to these countries. So I see no reason with somebody with such a stellar background should ultimately be objected to.”

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