Timothy J. Roemer

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Timothy J. Roemer
File:Timothy J. Roemer.jpg
22nd United States Ambassador to India
In office
July 10, 2009 – June 30, 2011
President Barack Obama
Preceded by David Mulford
Succeeded by Peter Burleigh (acting)
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Indiana's 3rd district
In office
January 3, 1991 – January 3, 2003
Preceded by John Hiler
Succeeded by Chris Chocola
Personal details
Born (1956-10-30) October 30, 1956 (age 64)
South Bend, Indiana
Nationality United States
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Sally Roemer
Children Patrick Hunter Roemer, Matthew Bennett Roemer, Sarah Kathryn Roemer, Grace Elizabeth Roemer
Religion Roman Catholic

Timothy John "Tim" Roemer (born October 30, 1956) is an American political figure who served in the United States House of Representatives from 1991 to 2003 as a Democrat from Indiana's 3rd congressional district. Subsequently he was the president of the Center for National Policy (CNP), a Washington, D.C-based national security think tank. He served as U.S. Ambassador to India from 2009 to 2011. Roemer currently serves on the advisory board of Washington, DC based non-profit America Abroad Media.[1]

Early life and education

Tim Roemer was born in 1956 in South Bend, Indiana. His grandfather, William F. Roemer, was a philosophy professor at the University of Notre Dame; and his grandmother was an elementary school teacher. Roemer's parents, James and Mary Ann Roemer also worked at Notre Dame as Dean of Students and Coordinator of Volunteer Activities, respectively. Roemer graduated from Penn High School in 1975 and worked at various jobs from the age of 14 to help pay for college.

Tim Roemer graduated from the University of California, San Diego with a B.A. degree in 1979. He earned his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Notre Dame; his 1985 dissertation was titled "The Senior Executive Service: Retirement and Public Personnel Policy."


Tim Roemer served on the staff of U.S. Representative John Brademas of Indiana (1978–1979) and U.S. Senator Dennis DeConcini of Arizona (1985–1989).

Roemer as a Congressman

He won election to the House of Representatives as a Democrat in 1990, serving in the Congress from 1991 to 2003 representing Indiana's 3rd congressional district. While in the House, Roemer served on the Intelligence, Education and Workforce, and Science committees. He did not run for reelection in 2002.

Tim Roemer voted in favor of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), the African Growth and Opportunity Act, and the Caribbean Basin Initiative. He opposed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), feeling it provided incentives for businesses to move out of the country (as may have happened in his district). Roemer voted against presidential fast-track trade promotion authority, believing that the United States should have been stricter in its enforcement of existing agreements.

Much of Roemer's efforts during his congressional career were related to improving education. He was the principal author of the Ed-Flex bill, which encouraged states to seek innovative approaches to education. Roemer was the chief sponsor of the "Transition to Teaching" bill that helped address teacher shortages by recruiting and training professionals to become teachers. Roemer was also the lead sponsor of the five-year reauthorization of Higher Education Act, which reduced interest rates on student loans, increased Pell Grants, increased funding for teacher training, and expanded aid to families.

Tim Roemer was a principal sponsor of the AmeriCorps national service program, and a co-author of a bill to expand Head Start services to provide childcare coverage for women moving from welfare to work. He co-wrote legislation on reauthorizing the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and wrote an amendment to tax relief legislation for teacher certification of professionals in outside fields. He co-authored "School-to-Work" legislation to help non-college-bound high school students learn skills to prepare them for the workforce.

In his final term in Congress, Roemer was instrumental in passing the No Child Left Behind Act and pushed for full funding for the program.

Roemer was one of the first members of Congress to call for a Cabinet-level federal executive department to oversee national security, and was an original sponsor of the legislation to create the Department of Homeland Security. Eventually he opposed the revisions proposed by the Bush administration, because of concerns about bureaucratic inefficiencies, and voted against the creation of DHS. Roemer advocated a "civilian reserve corps" to train more fluent speakers in foreign languages for the Intelligence Community. Roemer was an original sponsor of bioterrorism legislation and legislation aimed at creating the 9/11 Commission, upon which he later served.

Post-House of Representatives

File:Tim Roemer 2007.jpg
Roemer addressing the audience at CNP's 2007 Edmund S. Muskie Distinguished Service Award Dinner

Tim Roemer was a member of the 9/11 Commission. He was a candidate for chair of the Democratic National Committee (gaining the support of Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid) but lost to Howard Dean, who had unsuccessfully sought the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination.

Roemer was criticized as too conservative for the post, due to his pro-life stance on abortion and his oft-mentioned vote against the Clinton economic plan in 1993. Roemer is a moderate Democrat, voting more liberally on some foreign policy issues and conservatively on social issues.

Roemer endorsed Barack Obama in the 2008 Democratic presidential primaries and campaigned vigorously for him, particularly in his home state of Indiana, where he joined Lee H. Hamilton in support of Obama. Roemer's moderate, bipartisan politics, and national security experience led to speculation (from Chris Cillizza and Ben Smith) that Roemer was considered a possible vice presidential running mate for Obama.[2][3]

Roemer served as a distinguished scholar at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. He was a partner at Johnston and Associates, a public and legislative affairs consultancy, before he became president of the Center for National Policy.

Roemer served on the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism, a bipartisan commission created by Congress in 2007 as an outgrowth of the reforms put forth by the 9/11 Commission to examine how the United States can best address this threat to national security.

In addition, Roemer served on the Washington Institute for Near East Policy’s Presidential Task force on Combating the Ideology of Radical Extremism, and the National Parks Second Century Commission.

Diplomatic career

He was nominated by President Barack Obama as the 21st U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of India on May 27, 2009. His nomination was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on July 10, 2009, he was sworn in on July 23, 2009 in the State Department's ceremonial Benjamin Franklin Treaty Room and he presented his credentials to Indian President Pratibha Patil on August 11, 2009.[4][5][6]

During his tenure as Ambassador, several policies and initiatives were announced. President Obama stated during his visit to India in November, 2010 that the U.S. would support India as a permanent member to a reformed United Nations Security Council.[7] The United States also removed India’s defense and space-related entities from the U.S. “Entity List,” opening the door for increased cooperation, technology transfer, and commercial sales in the defense and space industries.[8] The United States agreed to set up a Global Disease Detection Center.[9] and will work with India on its new Global Center for Nuclear Energy Partnership.[10] The United States and India will partner globally to support food security in Africa and reconstruction in Afghanistan.

On July 23, 2010, Ambassador Roemer and Indian Home Affairs Secretary G.K. Pillai signed the Counterterrorism Cooperation Initiative.[11] This agreement expands cooperation in several areas such as transportation security, border security, money laundering and terrorist financing, and megacity policing. The U.S. government also agreed to give the Government of India access to David Headley, one of the planners of the 26/11 terrorist attacks in Mumbai.[12]

Ambassador Roemer presided over several high level visits including visits by Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. The first annual strategic dialogue meeting between the United States and India was held in June 2010 in Washington D.C.[13] with the second scheduled for July 2011 in New Delhi.

During his two-year tenure, India moved up to be the 12th leading trade partner of the United States. In 2010, exports in goods from the United States to India were up 17 percent and two-way trade in goods increased 30 percent. During President Obama’s visit to India, the United States announced 20 deals totaling $10 billion in U.S. exports that will lead to more than 50,000 jobs in America.[14] During his tenure, the United States also pushed to make the G-20 the premier international economic body [15] and reformed the IMF to give India greater representation.[16]

Ambassador Roemer travelled throughout India during his two years, visiting 17 states. He was the first Ambassador in over 10 years to visit Jammu and Kashmir, including a September 20, 2010 visit to the city of Leh to bring relief supplies to 400 rural families affected by a recent flash flood.[17]

In May, 2011, Roemer received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Notre Dame and gave the commencement address to The Graduate School.[18]

On April 26, 2011, he announced his resignation as Ambassador and returned to the U.S.[19] A press release from the U.S. embassy in India stated ambassador Roemer leaving by June citing family reasons.[20] Indian politician Shashi Tharoor wrote that Roemer resigned the post following India's decision to reject two American aircraft manufacturing tenders worth US$10 billion.[21]

Personal life

Tim Roemer married Sally Johnston in 1989. They have four children: Patrick Hunter Roemer, Matthew Bennett Roemer, Sarah Kathryn Roemer, and Grace Elizabeth Roemer. Roemer is the son-in-law of Bennett Johnston Jr., Democrat who served as a U.S. Senator from Louisiana from 1972 to 1997.

The Roemers are Roman Catholic and when in Washington attend St. Thomas à Becket Catholic Church in Reston, Virginia.


  1. http://americaabroadmedia.org/user/181/Tim_Roemer
  2. The Friday Line: Veepstakes!. Washington Post blog. 9 May 2008
  3. The Democratic veep prospects: A guide – Ben Smith. Politico.Com. Retrieved on 2011-08-14.
  4. "U.S. Ambassador to India, Timothy Roemer:Bio". Retrieved August 19, 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Former Ind. congressman to be ambassador to India. Associated Press via Wibc.com. 7/11/2009
  6. "Roemer, former lawmaker for South Bend area, confirmed as ambassador to India". Retrieved July 11, 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Obama endorses India for U.N. Security Council seat. Washingtonpost.com. (2010-11-08). Retrieved on 2011-08-14.
  8. US removes ISRO and DRDO from entities list. Indian Express (2011-01-25). Retrieved on 2011-08-14.
  9. India, US to set up global disease detection centre. Indian Express (2010-11-08). Retrieved on 2011-08-14.
  10. US joins India to set up global N-Centre in Haryana – Economic Times. Articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com (2010-11-08). Retrieved on 2011-08-14.
  11. News / National : India, U.S. sign counter-terrorism initiative. The Hindu (2010-07-23). Retrieved on 2011-08-14.
  12. India granted access to Headley. Indian Express (2010-06-05). Retrieved on 2011-08-14.
  13. First India-US Strategic Dialogue to be held today. Hindustan Times (2010-06-03). Retrieved on 2011-08-14.
  14. Obama India Trip: President Announces $10 Billion In Trade Deals Supporting 50,000 U.S. Jobs. Huffingtonpost. 2011-06-10
  15. Officials: G-20 to supplant G-8 as international economic council – CNN. Articles.cnn.com (2009-09-24). Retrieved on 2011-08-14.
  16. IMF reforms in sync with reality: G-20. Indian Express (2010-11-12). Retrieved on 2011-08-14.
  17. What's US ambassador Roemer doing in Kashmir – Rediff.com India News. Rediff.com (2011-03-17). Retrieved on 2011-08-14.
  18. Roemer talks about time as ambassador – South Bend Tribune. Articles.southbendtribune.com (2011-05-21). Retrieved on 2011-08-14.
  19. 'I'm resigning,' says US Ambassador. Ndtv.com. Retrieved on 2011-08-14.
  20. Press Releases 2011 | Embassy of the United States New Delhi, India. Newdelhi.usembassy.gov (2011-04-28). Retrieved on 2011-08-14.
  21. Al Jazeera English (2011-05-11). Obama dismayed as India rejects arms deal. Retrieved 30 July 2011.

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
John Hiler
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Indiana's 3rd congressional district

Succeeded by
Mark Souder