Cruz offers to swap Nord Stream 2 sanctions vote for ambassador nominees

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) leaves a meeting with Senate Republicans to discuss the bipartisan infrastructure bill on Wednesday, July 28, 2021.
Greg Nash

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said on Tuesday that he has made an offer to Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) to drop his hold on some of President Biden’s ambassador nominees in exchange for a vote on Nord Stream 2 pipeline sanctions.

Cruz, speaking to reporters, said he had made an offer to Schumer and had spoken with Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday.

“I have an offer on the table,” Cruz said. “It’s in Schumer’s hands.”

“I spoke this morning to Secretary Blinken who would very much like to see the tranche of ambassadors that I’ve offered to clear go through,” he said.

The offer comes as most of Biden’s State Department nominees have been stuck at a standstill amid a blockade lead by Cruz and Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.).

Cruz has vowed to slow walk the picks until the Biden administration imposes congressionally mandated sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which was built to allow Russia to deliver natural gas to Germany.

Democrats offered to let Republicans have a vote on an amendment backed by Cruz and Sen. James Risch (R-Idaho) as part of the debate over the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

But that amendment, which was included in a package of 25 proposals, was blocked by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who wanted either a vote on his amendment related to banning imports from China’s Xinjiang region, where administration officials have accused the government of carrying out genocide against Uyghur Muslims, or a vote in the House.

Cruz said his offer would not lift his hold on all of the State Department nominees. He declined to say how many or which nominees he was willing to lift his hold on.

Schumer told reporters that he had made a counteroffer to Cruz but declined to say what the offer was or if Cruz would have to drop his hold on all of the dozens of ambassador nominees currently stuck in limbo.

“I’m not getting into details,” he said.

Tags ambassadorial holdups Antony Blinken Chuck Schumer Jim Risch Joe Biden Josh Hawley Marco Rubio Nord Stream 2 pipeline Ted Cruz

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