The holdup over nominee Roberta S. Jacobson’s confirmation has nothing to do with her qualifications. She started her career as a civil servant, working as a desk officer at the State Department. Working her way up the ladder over the years, she now works as the Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs. She is fluent in Spanish and formerly served as deputy assistant secretary of state for Canada, Mexico and North American Free Trade Agreement issues. Jacobson also led the Office of Mexican Affairs.
The real sticking point for some senators on Capitol Hill is actually Jacobson’s recent work regarding the normalization of ties between the US and Cuba—a highly controversial affair that has rubbed many Republicans who support the embargo and are vehemently anti-Castro the wrong way. Marco Rubio, a Florida senator considered a top-tier 2016 candidate, and Robert Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey who is facing federal corruption charges, are Jacobson’s primary opponents. According to Politico.com, both senators, who are of Cuban descent, have actively opposed Obama’s decision to restore ties to the communist-led island, a decision that took effect July 20. Homing in on Jacobson’s nomination for the Mexico position is one way to needle the White House.
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