Obama's nominee to be under secretary of state for arms control and international security, Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-CA), and his pick to be assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, Kurt Campbell, were confirmed tonight in a unanimous consent motion, a congressional source relays.
Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman is still hanging for the moment. Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) has put the Feltman nomination on hold to try to get the State Department to take action to make an Italian-born constituent eligible for relief under a Libyan fund established to compensate victims of allegedly Libyan-sponsored acts of terrorism, including the bombing of Rome's airport.
The Campbell and Tauscher nominations were both previously the subject of "holds" by Senate Republicans that were lifted in the past day as the administration pushed for the nominees to get in place before Congress's July 4 break. So it's perhaps ironic that the last apparent hold on this batch of foreign-policy nominees is from a Democrat.
Feltman, who has recused himself from the matter, declined to comment. Levin's office didn't immediately respond to queries. Feltman, a former U.S. ambassador to Lebanon, is technically the principal deputy assistant secretary of the NEA bureau, but has been serving as the acting A/S since David Welch retired in December to take a job with Bechtel. Although the acting capacity allows Feltman to perform many functions of the job before he is confirmed, he is unable to hire staff.