Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) has been stonewalling the confirmation of President Joe Biden’s Ambassador nominees for months.
By this point in former President Donald Trump’s administration, 22 such U.S. ambassadors had been confirmed, 17 of them by voice vote, according to data compiled by Senate Democratic leadership aides and shared with The Washington Post.
At issue is Biden’s decision to drop U.S. opposition to a Russian pipeline to Germany, the Nord Stream 2, a decision Cruz calls “weak” and “incompetent.”
“This surrender to Putin won’t just impact today or tomorrow or next year, 10 years from now,” Cruz said. “Thirty, 40, 50 years from now, there will be Russian dictators, earning tens of billions of dollars from Nord Stream 2 and using it to fund military aggression against America and our allies and using it to hold Europe subject to energy blackmail.”
While Cruz is unable to block nominees indefinitely, he is causing the Senate to use valuable time on non-controversial nominations that usually sail through the process via unanimous consent.
“This risks being hyperbolic, but it’s like negotiating with a terrorist,” Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) said of Cruz. “He is not the secretary of state. The people of this country did not elect him or his party to represent us abroad. And what he’s asking for is to control American foreign policy.”
“Public diplomacy is neutered when you don’t have an ambassador,” added Murphy, a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “When six months or a year goes by without a U.S. ambassador, they infer that it’s a value judgment being placed on the relationship.”
The White House blasted Cruz’s actions.
“President Biden is quickly working to restore America’s position on the world stage, and he’s moved swiftly to nominate well-qualified ambassadors who have earned Republican and Democratic support,” White House spokesman Chris Meagher said. “But instead of putting politics aside, Sen. Cruz has led an unprecedented effort of obstruction by blocking dozens of President Biden’s nominees and preventing them from advancing America’s national security interests.”