Schumer moves to break GOP blockade on Biden’s State picks
Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) is moving to break a GOP blockade that has slowed down President Biden’s State Department nominees.
Schumer, on Tuesday, teed up votes on seven nominees, six of whom were part of the nearly 30 nominees blocked last month by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).
“Over the next few weeks, Senate Democrats will also move forward on a number of noncontroversial nominees critical to keeping our country safe and advancing American diplomacy abroad,” Schumer said on the Senate floor on Tuesday.
“Over the last few months there has been a growing backlog on these nominees due to Republican obstructionism, and it is our hope starting this week we can move to secure their confirmation,” he added.
Republicans can’t block a nominee from being confirmed if Democrats are totally unified and Vice President Harris breaks the tie. But they can use the Senate’s rulebook to slow them down and force Democrats to eat up days of precious floor time.
Cruz has vowed to slow-walk State Department 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.
He allowed three to go through earlier this month, noting at the time that two of them were “directly related to trying to clean up the mess, the disaster, the Biden administration has created in Afghanistan” and the third was someone that he had dropped his hold on weeks ago.
But he reiterated at the time that he was keeping most of his blockade in place because the administration was in “outright defiance of federal law.” The Biden administration in May issued a sanctions waiver on one entity and three individuals related to the pipeline’s construction.
In addition to Cruz, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) — who, like Cruz, is considered a 2024 presidential contender — has also announced that he’ll slow down Biden’s State Department and Pentagon nominees until Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and national security adviser Jake Sullivan resign due to the messy Afghanistan exit.
“Leaders take responsibility of their failures. And the failure of these individuals, the failure of this administration has costs Americans their lives,” Hawley said in a floor speech at the time.