Cruz blocks State Department nominees
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Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzDeSantis, Pence tied in 2024 Republican poll Democrats under pressure to deliver on labor's 'litmus test' bill Crenshaw pours cold water on 2024 White House bid: 'Something will emerge' MORE blocked a Democratic push to approve a handful of State Department nominees on Wednesday, even though the Texas Republican is far from D.C., campaigning in New Hampshire.  

Democratic Sens. Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinCOVID-19 relief debate stalls in Senate amid Democratic drama Senate GOP will force clerks to read bill to delay COVID-19 relief vote OVERNIGHT ENERGY: House Democrats reintroduce road map to carbon neutrality by 2050 | Kerry presses oil companies to tackle climate change | Biden delays transfer of sacred lands for copper mine MORE (Md.), Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenThe eight Democrats who voted 'no' on minimum wage Justice Democrats call moderates' votes against minimum wage hike 'unconscionable' Senate rejects Sanders minimum wage hike MORE (N.H.) and Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) tried to get unanimous consent for the Senate to confirm a handful of President Obama's State nominees, including Thomas Shannon to be an under secretary.
 
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Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeWhite House downplays surprising February jobs gain, warns US far from recovery White House open to reforming war powers amid bipartisan push Garland's AG nomination delayed by GOP roadblocks MORE (R-Utah), however, objected to each of the nominations, noting that he was doing so on behalf of Cruz. The presidential candidate has pledged to block State Department nominees over the Iran nuclear deal. 
 
Cardin called Cruz's objections a "master class in needless partisan obstruction." 
 
The Maryland Democrat, the ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee, added that if senators won't stop blocking nominations then Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) should file cloture, which would force a procedural vote. 
 
Shaheen said that it was "ironic" that the nominations are "being held up in many cases by a member of this body that's out on the campaign trail." 
 
"He's not here dealing with the work of the country," she added, saying the nominations were being "held up for political reasons." 
 
It's not the first time Cruz has blocked State Department nominations. 
 
Cardin previously tried to get consent to pass seven State nominations late last year, but the Texas Republican objected then, too. 
 
Shaheen also tried to get consent to confirm Adam Szubin to be an under secretary for terrorism and financial crimes for the Treasury Department. Democrats have repeatedly pointed to Szubin's nomination to criticize Republicans for holding up national security nominations. 
 
 
Shaheen said that while Shelby was in Washington on Wednesday, "it's disappointing that he's not on the floor to talk about what his objections to Adam Szubin are." 
 
Shelby also blocked a handful of Banking Committee nominees late last year.