11:28 GMT25 September 2020
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    The US Senate needs to confirm a new United States Agency for International Development (USAID) administrator to help deal with the Syrian refugee crisis, Senator Jeanne Shaheen and other Democrats told Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in a letter.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — US policymakers have cautioned that boosting aid for the refugees depends on Congress to confirming a new USAID administrator.

    "In light of the significantly worsening humanitarian crisis in Syria and throughout the Middle East, as well as… in Europe, we are writing to urge you to immediately schedule a vote on the nomination of Gayle Smith to be the next [USAID] administrator," Shaheen said in the letter sent on Thursday.

    Refugees and migrants wait outside the Berlin State Office for Health and Social Affairs in Berlin, Germany, Friday Sept. 11, 2015
    © AP Photo / Bernd von Jutrczenka
    The letter follows White House plans announced last week to bring 10,000 Syrian refugees to the United States in fiscal year 2016.

    The Democratic lawmakers said nearly four months had passed since nominee Gayle Smith appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which approved her nomination by a voice vote in July 2015.

    Since then, "there has been no attempt to bring her nomination to the Senate floor," despite the deteriorating situation in Europe, the letter noted.

    "While the President’s [Barack Obama’s] nominee has been waiting for a Senate confirmation vote, the plight of Syrian refugees has come into even sharper focus for many Americans, as we have witnessed an unprecedented exodus of vulnerable civilians desperate to escape violence and hunger," Shaheen said.

    Over the summer, hundreds of thousands of refugees from Syria and other Middle Eastern countries have poured into Europe seeking to settle there.


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    refugee crisis, USAID, Barack Obama, Syria, United States
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