Senate confirms Jack Lew as U.S. ambassador to Israel
The Senate on Tuesday confirmed former Treasury Secretary Jack Lew's nomination to become the next U.S. ambassador to Israel.
Why it matters: Lew's confirmation fills a months-long vacancy and comes at a critical moment, as the U.S. prepares for the possibility of a wider regional conflict in the Middle East amid the Israel-Hamas war.
State of play: The Senate voted 53-43 to confirm Lew's nomination.
- "With everything happening in Israel right now, confirming Jack Lew at this moment will be one of the most important and consequential nomination votes the Senate has taken in a long time," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) had said ahead of the vote Tuesday.
- Lew has a "strong, long, proven record as a public servant," Schumer added.
Background: Lew had faced Republican opposition due to his past involvement in the Iran nuclear deal.
- Last week, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted to advance Lew's nomination largely along party lines, with only one Republican — Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul — joining all Democrats to approve Lew.
The big picture: The U.S. hasn't had a Senate-confirmed ambassador to Israel since July, when Tom Nides left the position.
- President Biden nominated Lew in September to fill the role.
- Lew held several positions during the Obama administration, including Treasury Secretary between 2013 and 2017 and White House chief of staff.
Editor's note: This story is developing and will be updated.