May 02, 2016

The Hill: Two Countries, One Congress, No Time Left

Finally, we have an ambassador to Mexico. 

For nearly a year, the U.S. has had a vacancy in what is arguably considered to be one of the most critical roles within our government. I shouldn’t have to tell anyone how important Mexico is to this country. We are intertwined: Mexico’s oil and natural gas production is important to the U.S. economy, and our national security and tourist economies go hand in hand.

Despite these factors, we allowed the ambassador post to go empty for 10 months, putting at risk the relationship with one of our nation’s most important partner countries. The U.S. Embassy has done an exceptional job keeping up with everyday needs. But without an ambassador, they are limited as to what they can do. 

While I know many of us are very relieved to see that the hold on Roberta Jacobson’s nomination has come to an end, there’s a lesson to be learned here. 

That lesson is time.

Time is valuable. Why did this take so long?

A strong relationship with Mexico is vital to the economic stability and national security of the United States. This relationship relies on a qualified ambassador. Jacobson, a career public servant who is not a political appointee, has extensive experience and expertise with Mexico. Her various positions at the State Department have uniquely prepared her to advance our bilateral political, economic and security cooperation efforts. 

Without getting into the politics or negotiations that provided a clearer path for Jacobson’s nomination to be confirmed, we must stop and understand the possible ramifications that we may have incurred over these last 10 months. This embarrassingly long Senate delay is simply unacceptable. 

It is crucial that legislators let go of personal politics and do the job they were elected to do. Time is of the essence. Time is something the American people don’t like to waste. Time is something our economy cannot afford to squander. 

Cárdenas has served California’s 29th District since 2013. He sits on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. 

Link to the op-ed on The Hill