State Department’s top congressional official to resign
The State Department’s top official for dealing with Congress, Assistant Secretary of State Richard Verma will step down and return to the private sector, two State Department officials confirmed to The Cable. Verma has been Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s lead advisor on congressional affairs and the State Department’s lead interlocutor with Capitol Hill since ...
The State Department's top official for dealing with Congress, Assistant Secretary of State Richard Verma will step down and return to the private sector, two State Department officials confirmed to The Cable.
The State Department’s top official for dealing with Congress, Assistant Secretary of State Richard Verma will step down and return to the private sector, two State Department officials confirmed to The Cable.
Verma has been Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s lead advisor on congressional affairs and the State Department’s lead interlocutor with Capitol Hill since April 2009. Prior to that, he practiced law at the firm of Steptoe and Johnson and served as senior national security advisor to Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) from 2002 to 2007. He was also a member of the Graham-Talent WMD Commission and once worked as a judge advocate general for the Air Force, according to his Facebook fan page.
There’s no word yet what Verma will do upon his return to the private sector. His farewell reception at the State Department is scheduled for March 4; his replacement is currently unknown.
Verma was one of Clinton’s favorite advisors, according to a close advisor, and was an integral part of the administration’s ultimately successful drive to secure Senate ratification of the New START nuclear reductions pact with Russia. But the often excruciating process of New START ratification, which involved senior GOP senators demanding but never receiving various sets of documents from the State Department, has left some bitterness between the Republicans on Capitol Hill and Verma’s office.
The next nominee for the legislative affairs post will face a ton of scrutiny and probably at least one Senate hold. GOP senators see the nomination as perfect bait for a hold because it is not a position that must be filled on national security grounds and because the legislative affairs office is often in control of which documents senators are given or denied.
“Rich has made a habit of denying Congress the kind of information he demanded when he was still a staffer; this is not what we expected when we permitted his confirmation,” one senior GOP Senate aide told The Cable. “We won’t make the same mistake with his successor.”
Josh Rogin covers national security and foreign policy and writes the daily Web column The Cable. His column appears bi-weekly in the print edition of The Washington Post. He can be reached for comments or tips at email@example.com.
Previously, Josh covered defense and foreign policy as a staff writer for Congressional Quarterly, writing extensively on Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, U.S.-Asia relations, defense budgeting and appropriations, and the defense lobbying and contracting industries. Prior to that, he covered military modernization, cyber warfare, space, and missile defense for Federal Computer Week Magazine. He has also served as Pentagon Staff Reporter for the Asahi Shimbun, Japan's leading daily newspaper, in its Washington, D.C., bureau, where he reported on U.S.-Japan relations, Chinese military modernization, the North Korean nuclear crisis, and more.
A graduate of George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs, Josh lived in Yokohama, Japan, and studied at Tokyo's Sophia University. He speaks conversational Japanese and has reported from the region. He has also worked at the House International Relations Committee, the Embassy of Japan, and the Brookings Institution.
Josh's reporting has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, C-Span, CBS, ABC, NPR, WTOP, and several other outlets. He was a 2008-2009 National Press Foundation's Paul Miller Washington Reporting Fellow, 2009 military reporting fellow with the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism and the 2011 recipient of the InterAction Award for Excellence in International Reporting. He hails from Philadelphia and lives in Washington, D.C. Twitter: @joshrogin
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