Democrats Threaten to Use Hardball Tactics After Cruz Blockade Leaves Biden Nominees in Limbo

The Democratic Party is threatening to use hardball tactics against a blockade by Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) that has left several of President Joe Biden’s nominees for positions across the State Department, the Treasury Department, and the U.S. Agency of International Development (USAID) in limbo. More than 50 ambassador nominees are available for a vote in the Senate.

Negotiations between Democrats and Cruz have been difficult as they try to craft a deal that would trade votes on some of Biden’s ambassador nominees for a vote on sanctions related to the construction of the Russian Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

Democrats warn that they are willing to keep the Senate in Washington, D.C., heading into Christmas in the absence of a deal. 

“Democrats are working to clear as much of the backlog as possible by consent. If we cannot make much progress, we may need to stay and hold votes on nominees this weekend and next week until we do,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).

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

Other Democrats have also expressed their frustrations this week.

“I want to see ambassadors confirmed. We need those people in-country, obviously,” Senator Jim Risch of Idaho, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told Politico.

Cruz’s blockade has also received criticism from Representative Adam Kinzinger (D-Ill.), who said “America deserves better politicians” than Cruz.

“The President has a right to his ambassadors. The country is harmed by not seating them…. It was harmful when they blocked Trumps, and it’s harmful when we block Biden’s,” Kinzinger tweeted.

“Let’s quit being children, please. America deserves better politicians,” he added.