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Names: Adams to be State’s new lead Congressional official

President Barack Obama intends to nominate David Adams as the State Department’s primary liaison with Congress, The Cable has learned. Adams, who currently serves as the deputy assistant secretary for House affairs in the Bureau of Legislative Affairs (H), will be promoted to replace Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs Rich Verma, who is resigning to ...

President Barack Obama intends to nominate David Adams as the State Department's primary liaison with Congress, The Cable has learned.

Adams, who currently serves as the deputy assistant secretary for House affairs in the Bureau of Legislative Affairs (H), will be promoted to replace Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs Rich Verma, who is resigning to return to the private sector, three State Department officials confirmed. 

President Barack Obama intends to nominate David Adams as the State Department’s primary liaison with Congress, The Cable has learned.

Adams, who currently serves as the deputy assistant secretary for House affairs in the Bureau of Legislative Affairs (H), will be promoted to replace Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs Rich Verma, who is resigning to return to the private sector, three State Department officials confirmed. 

Initial reaction from Congressional sources regarding the appointment was positive. Adams is well liked and should start his new role with a reservoir of productive Capitol Hill relationships to draw upon.

Of course, the Senate is not going to rush to confirm him. There’s a lot of bad blood left over from the Obama administration’s often contentious dealings with GOP senators. During the debate over ratifying the New START treaty last fall, the GOP leadership publicly and frequently complained that Verma’s office wasn’t providing them with documents they thought they deserved.

Verma’s office wasn’t always making the decisions over what documents could be given to the Senate because those decisions were often part of larger negotiations being conducted by other bureaus or the White House. But while Verma’s prior experience working for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) should have been an advantage, what actually happened was that the partisan sniping in the Senate mirrored itself in the relationship between H bureau and many in the Senate GOP.

That’s the dynamic Adams will be tasked to fix. And although State officials maintain his selection is not meant to shift focus toward the House, it’s obvious that the State Department needs to devote a lot more attention to the newly GOP-led lower chamber. The House GOP spending bill for the rest of fiscal 2011 would cut State’s budget by 16 percent, and in January 165 House Republicans called for the defunding of USAID.

House Foreign Affairs chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) has said that cutting the State and USAID budgets is her number one priority. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) has proposed cutting massive amounts of foreign assistance. House Appropriations State and Foreign Ops subcommittee Chairwoman Kay Granger (R-TX) praised the GOP cuts to the State Department and pledged to seek more.

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 josh.rogin@foreignpolicy.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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