CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today released the following statement in response to a letter from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson outlining organizational changes related to special envoys and related positions at the State Department.
“Through the years, numbers of special envoys have accumulated at the State Department, and in many cases, their creation has done more harm than good by creating an environment in which people work around the normal diplomatic processes in lieu of streamlining them,” said Corker. “That is one reason our committee took bipartisan action last month to require Senate confirmation of special envoys while empowering the secretary to reduce bureaucracy by reining in these often unnecessary positions. I appreciate the work Secretary Tillerson has done to responsibly review the organizational structure of special envoys and look forward to going through these changes in detail.”
Background: Prior to the notification received today, there were over 60 special envoy positions, over two-thirds of which were created administratively. In July, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed bipartisan legislation that would require the department to notify Congress which special envoys it would like to keep in place and nominate all special envoys for the Senate’s approval going forward. The legislation recognizes that urgent developments may require the creation of a special envoy and allows such an envoy to immediately begin carrying out their duties, providing a 90-day period for the administration to submit an individual for confirmation.