The Senate confirmed lawyer Mari Carmen Aponte as United States Ambassador to El Salvador today, with Democrats getting enough votes to overcome a block from Republicans that started late last year.
Aponte, a longtime leader in the Hispanic legal community, was first nominated to the post by President Barack Obama in December 2009, and was sworn in after Obama used a recess appointment in August 2010.
Republicans blocked her confirmation vote in December, ending her term as ambassador. Today, Democrats needed 60 votes today on a cloture motion that would allow her nomination to receive a vote.
This time, it passed 62 to 37, and the Senate then confirmed Aponte in a voice vote. The Hispanic Bar Association of the District of Columbia lauded the confirmation of Aponte, the organization's past president and the first female president of the Hispanic National Bar Association.
"Ambassador Aponte's impressive track record demonstrates that the United States will greatly benefit from her tenure as U.S. Ambassador to El Salvador," HBA-DC President Lyzka DeLaCruz said in a statement.
Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J) said on the Senate floor today that Aponte "is a respected American diplomat who has been on the job and served this nation with distinction."
"During the 15 months that Ambassador Aponte was sworn in as the U.S. Ambassador to El Salvador, she impressed the diplomatic establishment with her professionalism and won the respect of parties both on the right and the left in El Salvador," Menendez said.
El Salvador is again a key ally in Central America because of Aponte's work, Menendez said.