Senate Democrats have promised a “bruising fight” over the administration’s nomination of John R. Bolton as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
Mr. Bolton’s nomination was sent out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last year without a positive recommendation after Sen. George V. Voinovich, Ohio Republican, voted against him. Democrats then twice filibustered a vote on his confirmation once the nomination was sent to the Senate floor, forcing President Bush to make a recess appointment to fill the vacancy.
Mr. Bolton’s temporary appointment is set to expire this fall, when Congress adjourns. However, the Senate has scheduled a debate this week on extending Mr. Bolton’s appointment through the end of the Bush administration. On Thursday, Mr. Voinovich announced that he no longer is opposed to Mr. Bolton, all but guaranteeing that his nomination will be sent to the Senate floor with a positive recommendation.
“I think Senator Voinovich’s announcement was — obviously, I much appreciated it, and I think it represents a fairly dramatic change in the political dynamic in the Senate,” Mr. Bolton told “Fox News Sunday.”
However, some Democrats have continued to express opposition to his nomination.
While appearing on CNN’s “Late Edition” yesterday, Sen. Christopher J. Dodd was asked whether he could now support Mr. Bolton’s nomination.
“No, this is going to be a bruising fight,” said the Connecticut Democrat and Foreign Relations panel member. “I regret this. I’m sorry the administration wants to go forward with this. The problems still persist. … Many ambassadors at the U.N. feel that he hasn’t done a good job there. He has polarized the situation.”
Democrats have not said whether they intend to filibuster the nomination again. However, Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr., the ranking member on the Foreign Relations Committee, hinted that a filibuster was possible.
“Instead of wasting time and playing politics, the administration should nominate someone else to take Mr. Bolton’s place,” the Delaware Democrat said.
Mr. Biden said he will continue to demand access to administration documents withheld from Mr. Bolton’s nomination last year. Mr. Biden said the Bolton nomination should not get a confirmation vote “unless the administration provides the Senate with the documents it is entitled to see.”
When asked about his prospects, Mr. Bolton told Fox, “All of the Republicans, I think, are now supportive, and I think a number of Democrats will be as well. So we’ll do this one step at a time, have a hearing this coming Thursday and see what happens after that. I think the main thing is allowing the nomination to come to a vote on the floor of the Senate.”