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Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) does not plan on stalling the confirmation of President Biden's ambassador to China, Nicholas Burns, as he has done with dozens of other State Department nominees, according to a source familiar with the decision.

Why it matters: Burns, a former career diplomat widely viewed as one of Biden's most qualified nominees, will be tasked with managing the president's defining foreign-policy challenge: preventing "intense competition" with China from spiraling into outright conflict.

  • Cruz's decision not to delay Burns' confirmation, which was first reported by Bloomberg, reflects the bipartisan consensus that the threat posed by an increasingly assertive Chinese government is too important to ignore.
  • The U.S. has not had a Senate-confirmed ambassador to China in more than a year.

The big picture: Cruz launched his campaign to stall every State Department nominees after Biden waived sanctions on Nord Stream 2, a Russia-to-Germany gas pipeline that the administration itself has called a "Kremlin geopolitical project."

  • Democrats and members of the Biden administration have been intensely critical of Cruz, arguing that his tactics are hurting U.S. national security interests.
  • Biden is far behind his predecessors when it comes to the rate at which his ambassadorial nominees have been confirmed.

Worth noting: A spokesperson for Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), who has vowed to block Biden's national security nominees over the administration's handling of the Afghanistan withdrawal, told Axios that the senator has not made a decision on Burns' confirmation.

  • "Senator Hawley has said he will hold leadership positions in the State Department and the Defense Department. He does not have a blanket hold on ambassadors. He is still reviewing Nicholas Burns’ nomination," the spokesperson said.

Go deeper: Highlights from Burns' Senate testimony on China

Go deeper

Nov 30, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Congress sprints to meet crush of deadlines

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Congressional leaders have been pushing off vital action for months — and a lot of it will catch up with them in December, which begins Wednesday.

Driving the news: Funding for the federal government is set to expire at midnight on Friday. There are also consequential deadlines related to the debt limit, President Biden's agenda and annual actions like voting on the National Defense Authorization Act.

Updated 1 min ago - Politics & Policy

Shooting at Michigan high school leaves 3 dead, 8 wounded

Police cars restrict access to Oxford High School following the shooting in Oxford, Michigan, on Tuesday. Photo: Matthew Hatcher/Getty Images)

A 15-year-old sophomore was arrested after a shooting at a Michigan high school that left three people dead and eight others wounded Wednesday, according to the Oakland County Sheriff's Office.

The latest: Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said at a briefing Tuesday night that the suspect's father had on Friday bought the 9mm Sig Sauer pistol investigators believe was used in the shooting at Oxford High School. Authorities released the names of the victims late Tuesday.

City Council member Andre Dickens wins Atlanta mayoral race

Andre Dickens during a rally at Center Stage on November 28, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images)

City Council member Andre Dickens won a runoff election Tuesday to become Atlanta's next mayor, soundly beating the council's president Felicia Moore.

The big picture: Dickens was just a few months ago considered to have an outside chance of replacing Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, who announced in May that she wouldn't seek a second term.