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Expand chart
Center for Presidential Transition via Congress.gov, historical data provided by the Partnership for Public Service; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

The Senate has confirmed just two of President Biden's ambassadorial nominations, far behind the 56 confirmed envoys President Obama had at this stage, according to data compiled by the Partnership for Public Service.

The big picture: Just one in four other national security positions at the Pentagon and Departments of Justice and State are filled.

  • That compares with 57% of positions filled at the time of the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001.
  • Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has been preventing most ambassadors from moving to the floor for a vote.

Why it matters: “Twenty years later, we only have 26% of key national security positions confirmed by the Senate," said Partnership for Public Service CEO and President Max Stier.

  • "The broken Senate confirmation process made our country less safe then, and it makes us even less safe now.”

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
1 hour ago - Energy & Environment

China vows end to building coal-fired power plants abroad

Chinese President Xi Jinping. Photo: Mary Altaffer - Pool/Getty Images

Chinese President Xi Jinping told the United Nations General Assembly Tuesday that his country "will not build new coal-fired power projects abroad" and plans to boost support for clean energy in developing nations.

Why it matters: The pledge, if maintained, would mark a breakthrough in efforts to transition global power away from the most carbon-emitting fuel.

House Democrats strip Iron Dome money from government funding bill

Photographer: Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty Images

House Democrats on Tuesday stripped $1 billion for Israel's Iron Dome defense system from its short-term government funding bill after backlash from progressives, people familiar with the decision tell Axios.

Why it matters: There has never a situation where military aid for Israel was held up because of objections from members of Congress. While the funding will get a vote in its current defense bill, the clash underscores the deep divisions within the Democratic party over Israel.

Oversight Board calls for more Facebook transparency

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Facebook Oversight Board on Tuesday called on the social media giant to "commit to transparency" in the wake of a Wall Street Journal report last week that millions of high-profile users get special treatment by content moderators.

Why it matters: Although initially funded by Facebook, the Oversight Board operates independently as a kind of Supreme Court for the platform. The company has agreed to obey its rulings on specific content disputes, but the board's broader policy advice is strictly on a "recommendation" basis.