Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 9, 2015

Cruz Puts Blanket Hold on State Department Nominees

None of President Barack Obama’s State Department nominees will be confirmed right away.

That’s because Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is placing a blanket hold on them until there’s an inspector general nominee for the department.

Cruz criticized the lack of a nominee to the post for Obama’s entire tenure at the White House.

“The position has been vacant for almost 2,000 days,” Cruz said. “This is a crucial oversight position and should be a priority for an agency facing substantial management challenges.”
“While several federal agencies are operating without a Senate-confirmed Inspector General, only the State Department has been without a credible and independent Inspector General for so long,” Cruz said in a statement.

Ambassador nominees are usually among the least contentious that the Senate considers, often being confirmed in bunches just before the Senate breaks for recess by unanimous consent.

A quick look at the Senate’s executive calendar shows at least three State Department nominees are ready for the floor, including Daniel R. Russel, Obama’s choice to be assistant secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs.

In recent weeks, Obama has announced the nominations of several top campaign fundraisers to ambassadorship. Those nominations would also be on hold once they reach the proper place in the process.

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