Hawley pledges to slow walk Biden's Pentagon, State picks over messy Afghanistan exit

Sen. Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleySenators slow Biden with holds at Pentagon, State Overnight Defense & National Security — Milley becomes lightning rod Joint Chiefs Chairman Milley becomes lightning rod on right MORE (R-Mo.), viewed as a potential 2024 White House hopeful, is warning he will slow walk President BidenJoe BidenSunday shows preview: Coronavirus dominates as country struggles with delta variant Did President Biden institute a vaccine mandate for only half the nation's teachers? Democrats lean into vaccine mandates ahead of midterms MORE’s State and Defense Department nominees unless Secretary of State Antony BlinkenAntony BlinkenOvernight Defense & National Security — The Pentagon's deadly mistake France pulls ambassadors to US, Australia in protest of submarine deal Republicans demanding Blinken impeachment are forgetting one thing — the Constitution MORE and national security adviser Jake SullivanJake SullivanClinton lawyer's indictment reveals 'bag of tricks' Senators slow Biden with holds at Pentagon, State Overnight Defense & National Security: US-Australian sub deal causes rift with France MORE resign in the wake of the administration's Afghanistan exit.

“I will not consent to the nomination of any nominee for the Department of Defense or for the Department of State until Secretary Austin and Secretary Blinken and Jake Sullivan resign,” he said during a Senate floor speech, knocking the administration’s botched exit strategy.

Hawley’s warning comes after he called late last month for Biden’s national security team to resign, and subsequently for Biden to resign.

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Biden’s handling of the Afghanistan withdrawal has sparked bipartisan pushback on Capitol Hill. Though Democrats largely agree with the decision to withdraw the U.S. military, Biden is facing questions about why the administration was caught off guard by the Taliban’s quick rise and the Afghan government’s rapid collapse.

Hawley, during his floor speech, unloaded on the president, calling him a “disgrace” and urging him to resign.

“His behavior is disgraceful. He has dishonored this country with his shameful leadership in this crisis. And it is time for him to resign. And if he had the responsibility of leadership, he would resign,” Hawley said.

Hawley can’t prevent the nominees from being confirmed if they have a simple majority of senators supporting them. But he can force Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerBiden discusses agenda with Schumer, Pelosi ahead of pivotal week CEOs urge Congress to raise debt limit or risk 'avoidable crisis' If .5 trillion 'infrastructure' bill fails, it's bye-bye for an increasingly unpopular Biden MORE (D-N.Y.) to eat up precious floor time.

He’s not the only Republican holding up some of Biden’s nominees.

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Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzSunday shows preview: Coronavirus dominates as country struggles with delta variant More than 10,000 migrants await processing under bridge in Texas Senators slow Biden with holds at Pentagon, State MORE (R-Texas) has been holding up State and Treasury nominees until the Biden administration imposes congressionally mandated sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which will allow Russia to deliver natural gas to Germany and Europe.

The Biden administration in May issued a sanctions waiver on one entity and three individuals related to the pipeline's construction, which is more than 90 percent complete.

“The Biden administration is in outright defiance of federal law,” Cruz argued from the Senate floor on Monday.

Cruz blocked dozens of nominees last month amid the stalemate but allowed three to be confirmed on Monday: Donald Lu, Brett Holmgren and Brian Nichols, who had each been nominated to be assistant secretaries of State.