Both sides furious at Ted Cruz for blocking confirmation from US diplomats, report says

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Senator Ted Cruz blocks State Department candidates from demanding sanctions on Russian pipeline (Getty Images)

Republican and Democratic lawmakers have reportedly found rare common ground: their fury against the senator Ted cruz.

According to CNNSenators on both sides blame Cruz for delaying confirmation of all pending State Department candidates, some of whom are needed in critical areas of U.S. diplomacy.

Mr Cruz blocks candidates on a specific foreign policy issue: a Russian gas pipeline called Nord Stream 2. U.S. officials have long viewed the pipeline as a problem, but the Trump and Biden administrations have refused to impose sanctions on it. Mr. Cruz wants this to change.

“I am leveraging and holding back candidates in the Biden administration to get the administrator to impose Congress-mandated sanctions to stop Biden’s multibillion-dollar giveaway to Putin,” the Texas senator said. tweeted earlier this month.

According to CNN, anonymous lawmakers on both sides have said the pressure campaign was unnecessary because the Biden administration has made it clear that it will not change its policy. Although administration officials believe the pipeline could yield Russia too much power over Europe’s energy, they also recognize that at this point its construction is almost complete – and, perhaps more importantly, fighting it could upset Germany.

Meanwhile, Mr. Cruz’s antics led to passionate clashes with democrat Bob menendez, chairman of the senatorial committee on foreign relations, which is struggling to confirm the candidates.

“Senator Cruz, this committee has a long history that you are blacking out,” Menendez said last month, “turning committee work into political ends.”

“What political objective is this? Mr. Cruz retaliated.

“Maybe it’s your political aspirations, I don’t know,” replied the president. “You selected all the candidates! Each nominee! I have never seen this.

Four weeks later, around sixty diplomatic posts are still waiting to be filled. Officials in the Biden administration grew angry at the standoff, pointing out that most of the candidates enjoy broad bipartisan support.

“It is essential for our national security and our foreign policy that the Senate moves forward with these qualified and experienced candidates as quickly as possible,” said a senior White House official. CNN.

State Department officials said they were working with Mr. Cruz to find a way out of the impasse, but had made little progress.

“We are in regular contact with Senator Cruz to try to get him to negotiate a way out of this general grip and so far we have not made any progress with him,” said an anonymous official of the department. of state. The hill.

The independent has contacted Mr Cruz’s office for comment, but has yet to receive a response.

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