What: All Issues : War & Peace : Respect for International Law & the United Nations : Bolton Nomination/Vote to Limit Debate and Proceed to a Vote on the Nomination of John R. Bolton as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations (2005 senate Roll Call 129)
 Who: All Members
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Bolton Nomination/Vote to Limit Debate and Proceed to a Vote on the Nomination of John R. Bolton as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations
senate Roll Call 129     May 26, 2005
Progressive Position:
Nay
Progressive Result:
Win

The selection of John R. Bolton as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations has been one of the most controversial nominees of President Bush. In the words of Senator Biden (D-DE), "He is no diplomat, as evidenced by his contempt for opposing views and his inability or unwillingness to listen. His credibility is in grave doubt, as evidenced by his repeated efforts to distort facts to fit preformed views. He is an ideologue... as evidenced by his long record both in and out of Government. And he lacks the trust and confidence of his superiors, as evidenced by the fact that the Secretary of State has felt the need to assure Senators in this Chamber that Mr. Bolton will be 'closely supervised.' As one of our colleagues said, why in the Lord's name would you send someone to the United Nations who had to be closely supervised?" Progressives vowed to oppose Bolton's nomination until the Bush Administration provided the Senate with data concerning intelligence matters handled by Bolton in his capacity as Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security. More specifically, Progressives were concerned that Bolton had manipulated intelligence information to push for conclusions that were not supported by the data. Conservatives supported President Bush's nominee and argued that John Bolton's fiery management style would help shake up the United Nations and achieve reform to that international body. Senator Martinez (R-FL) explained that, "Mr. Bolton is someone who has sometimes been called blunt speaking...The President has chosen this direct man to be at the United Nations, and at a time when we need direct talk...I think he will be a good and effective reformer in an institution that is in desperate need of reform and an institution where he has taken the time, over the history of his work, to talk about those issues of reform-management reform and budgetary reform." According to Senator Kyl (R-AZ), "I am concerned that a lot of debate has shifted to matters that have nothing to do with his qualifications and some of which attempt to assassinate his character. There is no question he is qualified for the job. In fact, Mr. Bolton has been confirmed by this body on four separate occasions previously. Most of the Members objecting to him now have voted for him in the past. They did so based on his substantive views, not any allegations about his conduct." The subject of this vote was a motion to invoke cloture on the nomination of John Bolton, a motion which requires a sixty vote majority for passage. If invoked, cloture limits debate and allows for a final vote on the nominee. Progressives voted against cloture based on their concerns with the nominee's role in manipulating pre-war intelligence and the refusal of the Bush Administration to provide requested information to the Senate regarding John Bolton's duties as Undersecretary of State. Conservatives supported the nominee because, in their view, John Bolton promised meaningful reform at the United Nations. On a vote of 56-42, the motion to invoke cloture failed to attract the necessary sixty votes and the nomination of John Bolton was not allowed to proceed to a final vote. (Note: On August 1, 2005, President Bush appointed John L. Bolton as U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. using a "recess appointment." The U.S. Constitution allows the President to make appointments without Senate confirmation during those periods of time when the Senate is not in session. Congress usually adjourns for the month of August, the so-called "August recess.")

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