Nomination of Sam Brownback to be Religious Freedom Ambassador Advances

Nomination of Sam Brownback to be Religious Freedom Ambassador Advances

Senate to hold initial vote on Brownback

If appointed, Brownback will be in charge of investigating religious freedom violations around the world and submit an annual report of violations to the White House.

The measure passed 50 to 49. The final vote was delayed almost three weeks because several Republican leaders wavered amid skepticism about whether the lease-purchase deal was the most cost-effective option.

But earlier this month, Brownback proposed phasing in a big increase in spending on public schools and saying growth in state revenues would cover it.

Brownback is a former senator. During Senate hearings some Democratic lawmakers criticized Brownback over his record on LGBT rights. "He was one of the key supporters of the landmark International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, which established in law the promotion of religious freedom as an element of US foreign policy".

"That was a major, major decision point for me", said Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning, an Overland Park Republican.

Sen. Bob Menendez, D-New Jersey, argued on the Senate floor Wednesday that Brownback's answer was insufficient. Under Kansas state law, Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer will take over as governor. "Condemning such horrific human rights abuses should never be a heavy lift for anyone who seeks to represent our nation on the global stage".

The Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, and the International Religious Freedom office as a whole, are responsible for "monitor [ing] religious persecution and discrimination worldwide", in addition to developing programs and executing policies that encourage freedom of religion or belief.

The Constitution provides that the vice president also serve as the president of the Senate, who has the power to cast a vote only if the Senate is equally divided.

"Sometimes politics trumps friendships around here", Hatch said. Since the 1870s, each vice president has done this fewer than 10 times during his tenure.

Republicans hold 51 seats in the chamber and Vice President Mike Pence would have to cast the tie-breaking vote if just one Republican joined Democrats in voting against Brownback's nomination. For all of 2017, Republicans numbered 52, compared with Democrats at 48. Democratic-Republican John C. Calhoun of SC holds the top spot with 31 tiebreaking votes cast between his terms as vice president under John Quincy Adams and then Andrew Jackson.

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