September 30, 2022

Senate confirms 81 different Biden nominees ahead of Christmas break

‘Tis the season for lawmakers to try to ram through whatever they want before leaving for the holiday break. This year, President Joe Biden was the beneficiary with several of his nominees across government confirmed.

The Senate has confirmed 81 of President Joe Biden’s nominees for positions in the foreign services, executive, and judicial branches, the Daily Caller reported. Though the session officially ends on Dec. 31, many lawmakers skip town ahead of the Christmas holiday.

The Senate confirmed 11 judges, 22 executive appointees, and 48 ambassadors between Thursday and Saturday to wrap up business last week. Only 70 Senators remained by the last vote that took place after 2 a.m. Saturday.

The rush comes as that Senate rules dictate that any of the nominees not voted on by the end of the year would have to be nominated again. These last-minute confirmations were crucial to moving business along as many vacancies remain.

Out of the 190 U.S. ambassadorships, 66 have not been filled. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle see this as problematic, though voting on these nominations is often leveraged as a bargaining chip to get other business done.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has held out on the nominees over Biden’s support for Nord Stream 2, the natural gas pipeline between Russia and Germany. The conservative lawmaker was willing to trade a Senate vote on sanctions against the pipeline in exchange for a confirmation vote.

“Those are complex dances that occur to get to a point,” Sen. Jim Risch (R-OK) explained to Politico. “I want to see ambassadors confirmed. We need those people in-country obviously,” the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said.

While this is a valid tool in Republicans’ arsenal, Democrats, of course, complained about the delays. However, the spate of confirmations should be enough to carry Democrats through until the session resumes — and they’ll be grumbling about something else.

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