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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

Jan 14, 2022 - World

U.S. braces for Russian escalation as talks hit “dead end”

OSCE Chairman-in-Office Zbigniew Rau said Thursday "the risk of war in the OSCE area is now greater than ever." Photo: Askin Kiyagan/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The crisis over Russia's threatening military buildup on the border with Ukraine entered a dangerous and unpredictable new phase in both Vienna and Washington on Thursday.

Driving the news: Russian diplomats said this week's round of security talks from Geneva and Brussels to Vienna have resulted in a "dead end," and it's time for them to return to Moscow to brief President Vladimir Putin on the "very disappointing" state of affairs before deciding the path forward.

Biden's epic failures

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

In the two months since signing the $1 trillion infrastructure bill into law, President Biden has by almost every measure bombed big time on the things that matter most.

The big picture: Biden, who marks one year in office next Thursday, has never been less popular nationally, after personally lobbying his party and the public on Build Back Better and voting rights — and failing.

Biden names Sarah Bloom Raskin as Fed's top banking regulator

Sarah Bloom Raskin during a Fed meeting in 2013. Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden will nominate Sarah Bloom Raskin as the Federal Reserve's top Wall Street cop, a Biden administration official said, one of three nominees being unveiled for the critical open seats on the central bank's board of governors.

Why it matters: It's Biden's biggest mark yet on the influential economic body that's center stage as the country grapples with inflation rising at the fastest pace in decades and a recovering labor market.