Prospects for extending John Bolton’s job as U.N. ambassador essentially died Thursday as Democrats and a pivotal Republican said they would continue to oppose the nomination.
It was another blow to President Bush two days after Democrats triumphed in elections that will give them control of Congress next year. On Wednesday, Bush had announced that Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, a polarizing figure and face of the Iraq war, would step down.
On Thursday the White House resubmitted Bolton’s nomination to the Senate, where the appointment has languished for more than a year. Bush appointed him to the job temporarily in August 2005 while Congress was in recess, an appointment that will expire in January.
Sen. Lincoln Chafee, R-R.I., who was defeated by Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse on Tuesday, told reporters in Rhode Island on Thursday that he would continue opposing Bolton. That would deny Republicans the votes they would need to move Bolton’s nomination from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to the full Senate.
Democrats indicated that even should the Senate try debating Bolton’s nomination when lawmakers reconvene next week — still under Republican control — they would stretch out debate on Bolton with the aim of killing it.
“I see no point in considering Mr. Bolton’s nomination again in the Foreign Relations Committee because regardless of what happens there, he is unlikely to be considered by the full Senate,” said Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware, top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee.