Senate Returns Hoagland Nomination to the President

WASHINGTON–The US Senate, having failed to confirm Richard Hoagland to serve as Ambassador to Armenia, returned his nomination to the President on December 8, upon the adjournment of the 109th Congress, reported the Armenian National Committee of America. "With the adjournment of the 109th Congress, we renew our call upon the President to recognize that–as a matter of basic morality–a genocide denier should never represent the United States in Armenia, and that–as a matter of diplomacy–a denier of the Armenian Genocide simply cannot effectively promote US interests or advance American values in Yerevan," said ANCA Chairman Ken Hachikian. Among the options available to the President after the convening of the 110th Congress in January are to offer an entirely new nominee, to resubmit Hoagland’s nomination for a second round of consideration, to make a recess appointment of Hoagland circumventing the Senate confirmation process, or simply to allow the ambassadorial post in Yerevan to remain empty. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) placed a hold on the Hoagland nomination on September 12th. In announcing this decision, the New Jersey legislator cited the principled stand taken by former US Ambassador John Evans, who was fired for speaking truthfully about the Armenian Genocide, underscoring his "great concerns that Mr. Hoagland’s confirmation would be a step backward." Citing the opposition of the Armenian American community and the growing controversy within Congress surrounding the nomination, Senator Menendez was joined on December 1st by incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) in calling on President George W. Bush to withdraw the Hoagland nomination and propose a new candidate to serve in this important diplomatic post. They stressed that, in light of the broad-based opposition within Congress, the extensive media coverage this issue has received, and the strong stand of the Armenian American community against the nomination, "it would serve neither our national interests nor the US-Armenia relationship to expect Ambassador-designate Hoagland to carry out his duties under these highly contentious and profoundly troubling circumstances." According to Section 6 of Rule XXXI of the Standing Rules of the Senate: "Nominations neither confirmed nor rejected during the session at which they are made shall not be acted upon at any succeeding session without being again made to the Senate by the President; and if the Senate shall adjourn or take a recess for more than thirty days, all nominations pending and not finally acted upon at the time of taking such adjournment or recess shall be returned by the Secretary to the President, and shall not again be considered unless they shall again be made to the Senate by the President."

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