Senate

Schumer, Cruz at standoff over Biden nominees

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) are at a standoff over President Biden’s nominees, with the Senate’s end-of-year schedule hanging in the balance.

Cruz and Schumer have swapped offers this week but appeared far from a deal as of Wednesday morning as they drew competing red lines.

“We’ve been working over the past day to secure lift on many of these holds. I want to echo what Sen. Menendez made clear, if the senator from Texas offers a proposal that does not include lifting all State, Treasury, USAID nominees, we cannot come to an agreement,” Schumer said.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) told reporters earlier this week that Cruz had to drop all of his holds in order to get a vote on sanctions related to construction of the Russian Nord Stream 2 pipeline. Schumer had declined to comment on that ultimatum on Tuesday.

But Cruz on Wednesday dismissed that as an option. Cruz has been holding up dozens of Biden picks for months as he’s pushed for a vote on Nord Stream 2 sanctions.

“That was just silliness and he knows that. If he wants to engage in partisan posturing he can,” Cruz said.

“If he maintains that position then Chuck Schumer can be the cause of all of Biden’s ambassadorial nominees to expire this year,” he added.

A source familiar with the situation said that Cruz had offered to lift holds on a “double-digit” number of nominees, including for the State Department, U.S. Agency for International Development and the Treasury Department.

Cruz told reporters that he and Schumer had previously reached an agreement on a smaller number of nominees as part the defense bill in exchange for a vote on Nord Stream 2 amendment.

That amendment was included as part of a package of 25 amendments but votes were blocked amid a standoff with Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), and the defense bill passed on Wednesday without the Nord Stream 2 proposal.

Laura Kelly contributed to this story.

Tags Biden nominations Bob Menendez Charles Schumer Chuck Schumer Joe Biden Marco Rubio Robert Menendez State Department Ted Cruz Treasury Department USAID

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