Mr. Cruz shouldn’t be the one purpose practically each overseas ambassadorship and plenty of different State Division positions stay unfilled: The Biden White Home was notoriously sluggish to start providing overseas coverage nominations, exasperating even its Democratic allies.
However except Mr. Cruz backs down, it may very well be months earlier than Mr. Biden has his picks in capitals like Beijing, Jerusalem, Cairo and Berlin, and in essential policymaking positions on the State Division and the U.S. Company for Worldwide Growth.
A minor breakthrough got here on the finish of September, after Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the bulk chief, saying he would “take the great distance,” cleared a number of hours on the Senate flooring to advance a few of the State Division nominees. Six had been confirmed this previous week, most by large margins, together with assistant secretaries of state for European, African, and East Asian and Pacific affairs. However many dozens are nonetheless ready.
State Division officers say the scarcity of confirmed senior personnel is straining their potential to conduct diplomacy. They level to the instance of Bonnie Jenkins, who was formally nominated in March to be the State Division’s prime arms management officer however not confirmed till July 21 — just some days earlier than she departed for strategic arms talks with the Russians in Geneva.
Mr. Cruz and different Republicans say a 2017 legislation — the Countering America’s Adversaries By way of Sanctions Act, devised to power a reluctant President Donald J. Trump to impose sanctions on Moscow — requires Mr. Biden to penalize Nord Stream 2 AG, the corporate answerable for the pipeline venture, which is a subsidiary of the bulk state-owned Russian power firm Gazprom. They are saying an administration report discovering that the corporate facilitated “misleading” transactions ought to set off the 2017 measure.
Mr. Cruz’s allies say he felt misled by early statements from Mr. Blinken suggesting he would work to cease the Nord Stream venture, which helped persuade Mr. Cruz to carry earlier holds on nominees, together with Mr. Biden’s decide for director of the C.I.A., William J. Burns.
“This isn’t one thing he does frivolously or with relish. That is simply one thing he’s deeply, deeply involved about,” mentioned Victoria Coates, a former nationwide safety aide to Mr. Cruz who additionally labored within the Trump White Home. “He seems like they lied to him, and they don’t seem to be understanding how severe that is.”