WASHINGTON (AP) — A congressman and a member of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom are urging President Barack Obama to quickly fulfill a pledge he made last week at the National Prayer Breakfast.
Obama said he looked forward to nominating the next U.S. Ambassador at large for International Religious Freedom, a post that has sat vacant since Suzan Johnson Cook resigned in October. Prior to her confirmation, the diplomatic post was vacant for two years.
At a House hearing Tuesday, New Jersey Republican Chris Smith urged the president to quickly name a new ambassador.
Commissioner Elliott Abrams said leaving the seat vacant "sends a message to countries around the world of inattention and lack of concern."
But State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki (SAH'-kee) said Secretary of State John Kerry and other administration officials "are dedicated to this issue every day" and are "advocating with governments where needed."