The partisan gridlock that has paralyzed Congress during much of the Obama administration may have far-reaching implications for America’s stature in the world, according to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Clinton said U.S. partners overseas have been confused about the Senate’s inability to approve President Barack Obama’s appointments to top diplomatic jobs, including assistant secretary of state positions and ambassadorships.
“It became harder and harder to explain to countries, particularly countries of significance, why we had nobody in position for them to interact with,” Clinton told a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing on the Obama budget plan for fiscal year 2011.
She said the U.S. Agency for International Development, which administers U.S. civilian foreign aid to countries including quake-stricken Haiti, still lacks a complete team to run its operations.
Clinton als0 went further, under questioning from Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, a former Republican who jumped to the Democratic Party in 2009.