February 24th, 2010
02:51 PM ET
12 years ago

Clinton: Congressional delays put U.S. power at risk

Washington (CNN) - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned Wednesday that gridlock in Washington may reduce U.S. power on the world stage.

"As we sell democracy, and we are the lead democracy in the world, I want the world to know we have checks and balances but we also have the capacity to move, too," Clinton told a Senate hearing.

The secretary said she was concerned that slow congressional action on approving ambassadors and other nominations had already hurt U.S. relations with other countries.

Sen. Arlen Specter, D-Pennsylvania, raised the issue of the dangers of legislative gridlock during the hearing.

"(President Barack Obama) is not able to project the same kind of stature and power he was a year ago because he is being hamstrung by the Congress and it has an impact on foreign policy, on which we should try to do everything we can to try not to have partisanship influence," Specter said.

Clinton was discussing next year's $56 billion budget with the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Department of State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs. She said the United States Agency of International Development (USAID) had been hampered by slow Senate action in approving nominations to senior posts.

"We finally got (USAID Administrator) Dr. Shah nominated and confirmed; there was no delay on that, and I thank you for it," Clinton said. "But he has no team. And we've got to get that moving as quickly as possible."

Clinton said slow action on senior State Department posts had made it harder for the country to demonstrate strength and unity.

"When it came to some assistant secretary positions, some ambassadorial positions, it became harder and harder to explain to countries, particularly countries of significance, why we had no one in position for them to interact with," Clinton said.

Subcommittee chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, praised Congressional cooperation on the State Department budget.

"As we listen to the complaints about broken government or paralysis in Washington, this is a bill that over the past number of years has had overwhelming bipartisan support," Leahy said. "So if anybody wants to see whether bipartisanship still exists in Congress, I don't think you have to look any further than this subcommittee."Clinton: Congressional delays put U.S. power at risk

Filed under: Hillary Clinton
soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. Irma in North Carolina

    Boy Hillary sure nailed it down on that one. I hope she can get people to wake up in DC. And the American people are getting tired of it too. I think it she be broadcasted over the whole country and the world that the republicans are the cause of this. How does it look to a foreign country that the republicans want to president to fail.

    February 24, 2010 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  2. Andy

    I want NObama to fail ,the quicker the better.Maybe then his ignorant followers will shut up too.They blame everything on the GOP,so fine,fail and fail quick along with the dems.The dems are imploding as we speak the quicker the better.Then we can run the country(the GOP)

    February 24, 2010 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  3. Charlie in Maine

    The just say no party is putting our country at risk. The best solution is to send about 5 more Democrats in the U.S. Senate. If you want progress to be made don't send any more Republicans to DC. I like Republicans . They are great at the local level. Let's keep them there.

    February 24, 2010 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  4. Stallion

    Her conclusions and reasons are ridiculous......it is what it is.......why should we portray anything to the world.....she should go to work for an advertising company.

    February 24, 2010 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  5. How To Tell A Dem Is Lying-Lips Are Moving

    If we had a REAL president and not an empty suit and slick lying talk,we would be respected.Sure we look weak, look at the NOTHING that leads us.Hows that hopey changey stuff doing fur ya?

    February 24, 2010 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  6. Ryan

    This is because Republicans are willing to do anything they can to feel powerful or line their pockets from lobbyist money.

    They believe obstructing how our government works makes democrats look bad (and it does because democrats don't give them the smackdown they deserve) but what the GOP doesn't realize is... these are lives they're toying with!!

    They love America and hate Americans apparently.

    They're essentially holding all of us hostage – and that's just how they are as a minority....which is why it's so important that we NEVER let them come to power like they were in the past 8 years (and especially the first 6 of those last 8 years) – when our economy began tanking and we were being attacked by terrorists left and right and they did NOTHING when we had that gas crisis....

    Yeah. The party of NO needs to hear the word NO.

    February 24, 2010 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    Prediction: GOPers will backlash against this the harder because they secretly feel guilty for what they've done with their bombastic ideological rhetoric and demogoguery.

    February 24, 2010 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  8. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I would like to know why there is the delay. How much of it is the White House's fault for not picking people fast enough? How much of it is the Republicans stalling and not allowing the nominees to come to the floor for a vote.

    February 24, 2010 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  9. Bill from GA

    Doesn't she understand: It's not about America's power, it's about the Republican party's power that matters.

    When they are in power, they get their way (invading other countries, and tax cuts, that run up the national debt); when they are not in power, well, they have to stop "those liberals" any way they can.

    February 24, 2010 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  10. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    Excerpt : Clinton: Congressional delays put U.S. power at risk

    Reaction : On top of reducing the financial worth of the U.S. from not having people in place interacting with other countries for improving relationships that ought to bring greater peace of mind and greater economic returns!

    February 24, 2010 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  11. JLP

    Both parties are guilty of slowing this process depending who is in control. It is time for a return to a statesmanship that existed in congress in the past instead of the constant attempt by both parties to make the other look bad. Instead it makes you both look bad by the bickering over minutia.

    February 24, 2010 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  12. ronalde

    The repugs are holding up everything,nothing can get done because they
    have fillibustered everything the house have passed 290 bills with bipartisanshipand the senate repugs are holding the bills up.Why so the president can look bad,the repugs are the gridlock.

    February 24, 2010 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  13. Bob in Pa

    "same kind of stature and power"
    Thats before everyone found out who and what he is.
    He is not only a danger to the American Economy but left unchecked, he will take out the worlds economy.

    February 24, 2010 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  14. Rick McDaniel

    Hillary needs to look in the mirror, when she says that.

    February 24, 2010 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  15. givemecrat

    Hey arlen go sit down you are done perhaps we dont want keep apologizing and bowing to our enemies. How is that working out for you in north korea and iran???????????????

    February 24, 2010 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  16. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA


    Don't say we didn't warn you republicans. Mark this day on your calendars. This is going to cost some of you in November. You are putting one of your number one priorities, National Security, at risk. Republican leadership need to focus on passing these nominees and not so much on healthcare since they don't have any sensible ideas when it comes to that.

    February 24, 2010 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |