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Democrats threaten to play hardball over Cruz's blockade | The Hill |

Democrats are threatening hardball tactics as they try to break a blockade by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) that has left dozens of President Biden's State Department nominees in limbo.

Democrats and the conservative firebrand are struggling to make progress toward an agreement that would trade votes on some of Biden's ambassador nominees for a vote on sanctions related to the construction of the Russian Nord Stream 2 pipeline, a longstanding goal for Cruz, who has ensnared nominations across the State Department, the Treasury Department and the U.S. Agency of International Development (USAID).

Absent a deal, Democrats are warning that they are willing to keep the Senate in Washington, D.C., heading into Christmas. Senators had been scheduled to leave town for the year on Friday, and the House left early Wednesday morning until January. 

"Democrats are working to clear as much of the backlog as possible by consent. If we cannot make much progress, we may need to stay and hold votes on nominees this weekend and next week until we do," said Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.).

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Schumer's No. 2, added that the ambassador nominations were something "we want to do before we leave for Christmas." 

Asked about the potential of keeping the Senate in town next week to confirm nominations, Durbin added: "I hope we don't have to." 

Cruz has been holding up Biden's State Department nominees for months over a push to get a vote on, or implementation of, Nord Stream 2 pipeline sanctions. 

U.S. senator gets vote on Nord Stream 2 sanctions, in deal over envoy approvals

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Thu Dec 23rd, 2021 at 05:47:42 PM EST

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