A backlog of nominees for ambassador positions across the world has been gathering dust in the Senate, including in countries and offices that Obama administration officials consider vital to U.S. security interests.Democrats have accused Republicans of blocking nominees favored by President Barack Obama for political reasons. Republicans reject the claim. But following Thursday's high-profile vote on Egypt and Iraq, there remain 49 ambassador-level nominations awaiting Senate confirmation.
Within that backlog, the posts include the State Department, USAID and development banks, as well as 28 countries for which Congress has not yet confirmed a U.S. ambassador. The White House isn't happy. Dozens of nominations sent to the Senate have waited an average of 262 days for confirmation, according to National Security Advisor Susan Rice.