Dec 16, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Schumer moves to confirm ambassadors

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is seen between closing elevator doors.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is taking a procedural step to confirm more than 20 of President Biden‘s stalled judicial and ambassadorial nominees without agreement from Republicans.

Why it matters: By filing cloture on nominees Wednesday evening, Schumer made the opening move in a potentially lengthy confirmation process that will start on Friday — and extend into late-night, weekend and potential Christmas-week votes.

  • Schumer has been negotiating with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who's blocked many ambassadorial nominees to force a vote on Nord Stream 2 pipeline sanctions.
  • But without an agreement, Schumer is taking a different procedural track.
  • The ambassadorial nominees he's moving include Nick Burns for China, Rahm Emanuel for Japan, Denise Bauer for France, Julissa Reynoso for Spain and Mark Gitenstein for the European Union.

The big picture: Negotiations between Cruz and Democrats aren’t necessarily over, but the majority leader is indicating he’s willing to use valuable floor time to confirm nominees before the end of the year.

  • Cruz had offered to release 16 ambassadors in return for his Nord Stream vote. Democrats rejected that earlier Wednesday.
  • “If he wants a vote on Nord Stream, he’s got to let them all go,” Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) told Axios.
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