Ted Cruz blocks Biden nominees

Mr Cruz is not the only reason nearly all ambassadorial overseas positions and many other State Department positions remain vacant: White House Biden has been notoriously slow to start proposing appointments in foreign policy, infuriating even its Democratic allies.

But unless Mr. Cruz steps back, it could be months before Mr. Biden makes his choice in capitals like Beijing, Jerusalem, Cairo and Berlin, and in important policy-making positions in the Department of Justice. State and the United States Agency for International Development.

A minor breakthrough came in late September, after New York’s Senator Chuck Schumer, the majority leader, said he “would come the long way,” allowed several hours in the Senate to advance some of the Senate’s candidates. state department. Six were confirmed last week, most with wide margins, including deputy secretaries of state for European, African, Asian and Pacific affairs. But several dozen are still waiting.

State Department officials say the shortage of senior executives is straining their ability to conduct diplomacy. They cite the example of Bonnie Jenkins, who was officially appointed in March to be the State Department’s top arms control official, but was not confirmed until July 21 – just days before she left. for strategic arms talks with the Russians in Geneva.

Mr Cruz and other Republicans claim that a 2017 law – the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, designed to force reluctant President Donald J. Trump to impose sanctions on Moscow – requires Mr Biden to penalize Nord Stream 2 AG, the company in charge of the gas pipeline project, which is a subsidiary of the Russian energy company Gazprom, which is majority owned by the state. They say an administration report finding the company facilitated “deceptive” transactions should trigger the 2017 measure.

Mr Cruz’s allies say he felt misled by Mr Blinken’s initial statements suggesting he would work to stop the Nord Stream project, which helped persuade Mr Cruz to lift the holdbacks earlier on the candidates, including the selection of Mr. Biden for the post of Director of the CIA, William J. Burns.

“It’s not something he does lightly or with relish. It’s just something that deeply concerns him, ”said Victoria Coates, Mr. Cruz’s former national security assistant who also worked in Trump’s White House. “He feels like they lied to him, and they don’t understand how bad it is.”

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