But then-Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., had problems with the nomination of Ueland, who was the former chief of staff to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn. Ueland’s nomination then languished until it was withdrawn in 2018 when Mike Pompeo took over as secretary of State and wanted to have his longtime personal friend, Brian Bulatao, nominated instead for the management job.

At the same time, Trump’s first nominee to be undersecretary for human rights, Marshall Billingsea, saw his 2018 nomination stall in the committee because of bipartisan concerns about Billingsea’s past advocacy for torture as an interrogation practice during his time at the Pentagon in the early years of the George W. Bush administration. Billingslea’s nomination was eventually withdrawn and he has since been nominated to the position of undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security.

“There is an element of farce to this but I for one am not amused. These are serious jobs that require subject matter expertise and experience,” Menendez said. “I recognize that you are well-versed on budget matters including a short stint at the State Department but this is not a budget job. This is about enhancing our own security by helping others build more just, more humane and more democratic societies.”

Ueland said he believed his knowledge of the budget process (he is a former staff director of the Senate Budget Committee) and other appropriations and financial matters would be an asset if he is confirmed to oversee the roughly $6 billion in annual foreign assistance that goes through the J bureaus.

“The responsible stewardship of public funds has been a key objective of my career in government,” Ueland said in his opening statement. “The undersecretary must ensure that we are building partner capacity rather than dependency when we provide foreign assistance.”

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