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

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), viewed as a potential 2024 White House hopeful, is warning he will slow walk President Biden’s State and Defense Department nominees unless Secretary of State Antony Blinken and national security adviser Jake Sullivan 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.

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 Schumer (D-N.Y.) to eat up precious floor time.

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

Sen. Ted Cruz (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.

Tags Afghanistan evacuation Afghanistan withdrawal Antony Blinken Biden nominees Charles Schumer Defense Department Jake Sullivan Joe Biden Josh Hawley National security Senate State Department Ted Cruz

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