Corker Delays Nomination Over Assurances on NNSA Funding

According to a senate staffer, republicans will use Michael McFaul’s nomination as an opportunity to voice their concerns about a variety of issues.

US-Senate-SealThe Senate Foreign Relations Committee has delayed consideration of Michael McFaul to become the next U.S. ambassador to Russia due to objections by U.S. senators that aren’t related to his personal qualifications for the position.

Two staffers have confirmed that the objection is coming from Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), who wants administration assurances on funding related to the National Nuclear Security Administration. Corker has been a long-time defender of funding for the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which is located in his state. That account is fully funded now, but Corker also wants assurances over funding for nuclear warhead life-extension programs, which were part of the deal the administration struck with Congress during the debate over the New START nuclear reductions agreement with Russia.

Other GOP senators want to use the McFaul nomination to press the administration on a host of issues, including the current U.S.-Russia talks over missile defense cooperation, Russia’s poor record on human rights, its continued occupation of the Georgian territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and a perceived lack of Russian cooperation on key international issues, such as confronting the Iranian nuclear threat.

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Source: Josh Rogin | Foreign Policy
Image: U.S. Senate