Risch dismayed with fellow GOP senators' blockade on Biden diplomatic picks

Sen. James Risch (R-Idaho) criticized his party and fellow senators for blocking passage of President BidenJoe BidenMacro grid will keep the lights on Pelosi suggests filibuster supporters 'dishonor' MLK's legacy on voting rights Sanders calls out Manchin, Sinema ahead of filibuster showdown MORE's foreign policy picks.

Risch, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the stalling of 51 diplomats awaiting full Senate approval is a "political matter."

“I have been a critic of this since I started on the Foreign Relations Committee,” Risch said during a discussion at the Halifax International Security Forum in Canada, according to Politico. “I was a governor. I understand you have to have a team in place in order to govern.”


Republican senators, including Sens. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzGolden State Warriors owner says 'nobody cares' about Uyghurs All hostages free, safe after hours-long standoff at Texas synagogue: governor Overnight Energy & Environment — Lummis holds up Biden EPA picks MORE (Texas) and Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleyHawley says he would have opposed resolution to honor Capitol workers on Jan. 6 Hawley introduces bill banning lawmakers from making stock trades in office Hillicon Valley: Amazon's Alabama union fight — take two MORE (Mo.), have slowed down the nomination process of ambassadors and senior appointees for foreign policy positions on the Senate floor. Rules of the U.S. Senate allow any one senator to stop bills, nominations and appointments.

Hawley slow-walked the nominee process because he is critical of Biden's chaotic Afghanistan withdrawal, and he has since called for the resignation of the secretary of State and secretary of Defense. Cruz is holding out because he is critical of Biden for not imposing sanctions on the Nord Stream 2, a natural gas pipeline from Russia to Germany that will benefit Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinThe hidden blessing of China's and Russia's hostility Former president returns to Ukraine ahead of court hearing McCaul says US withdrawal from Afghanistan has emboldened Russia on Ukraine MORE.

"I've made clear to every State Department official, to every state department nominee, that I will place holds on these nominees unless and until the Biden administration follows the law and stops this pipeline and imposes the sanctions," Cruz wrote on his website.

Both senators are now beginning to lift their holds on nominees, but the long blockade of top nominees in the administration has created a backlog for diplomats in Africa, which is experiencing crises in Ethiopia and Sudan.