The Senate today finally voted to end the debate on Mari Carmen Aponte’s nomination as ambassador to El Salvador.
As previously reported on La Plaza, Aponte’s nomination has been awaiting confirmation since December 2011, when a Republican filibuster blocked the Senate’s ability to move forward to a vote. She has been serving as a recess appointment to El Salvador since 2010.
In a 62-37 vote, the Senate voted to move forward on a vote for her confirmation next week, or earlier if Republicans who still oppose her nomination agree to vote before. The vote to end debate required 60 votes, but only 51 votes will be required to confirm Aponte’s nomination next week, with Democrats presently controlling 53 votes, against Republican’s 47.
In total, 9 republicans voted with Democrats to end the debate and move the nomination forward to a vote, 6 of whom switched positions from their original votes in December 2011. The Republican Senators who voted in favor are: Marco Rubio (R-FL), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Lindsay Graham (R-SC), Scott Brown (R-MA), Susan Collins (R-ME), Richard Lugar (R-IN), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and Olympia Snowe (R-ME).
The White House and the State Department have spent the past few days making calls urging Senators to support Aponte’s confirmation, a move heavily led by Secretary Hillary Clinton.
Latinovations congratulates the Hispanic community and its allies who mobilized to reach out to Republicans who had previously opposed Aponte’s nomination and convinced them it was the right thing to do for the country. Latinovations also recognizes Secretary Clinton’s efforts to propel Aponte’s nomination closer to her confirmation.
Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) called Aponte “an incredibly-qualified person who has a long history of service to the Hispanic community of this country, to our nation and who did an exceptional job for 15 months… as a recess appointment.”
Once confirmed, Aponte will become the nation’s first female Puerto Rican ambassador to a foreign country.
“She’s an excellent ambassador,” said Senator Harry Reid (D-NV). “It is high time the United States has a confirmed ambassador to El Salvador, our ally.”