Presidential hopeful Sen. Ted Cruz is blocking a vote in the U.S. Senate to confirm the Norwegian and Swedish ambassador nominations.
The move by the Texas Republican has angered some members of Minnesota’s sizable Scandinavian communities, as Norway has been without an ambassador for more than 800 days and Sweden tops 400 days without a U.S. representative.
Staffers from Cruz’s office didn’t say anything negative about the people appointed by President Obama to the posts, including Norway ambassador nominee Sam Heins from Minnesota. Cruz has continued to block the nominees as he has worked to build support for another initiative that is putting him at odds with the White House.
Cruz, who is critical of the Chinese government, has lobbied his Senate colleagues to rename a street in Washington, D.C., after a polarizing Chinese dissident — an idea that has been thwarted by fears of crippling diplomatic efforts between the two countries.
“Senator Cruz remains engaged in good-faith discussions with his colleagues regarding the holds he announced because of his serious concerns about the Obama administration’s foreign policy,” said Cruz spokesman Phil Novack.
The White House renewed its calls for a swift vote on the ambassador nominees.
Cruz’s office says he remains in negotiations about lifting the procedural blocks on the nominations, citing a July 2015 letter to the Obama administration outlining concerns about the Iran nuclear deal as one of the reasons he is objecting to political appointments.
Source: Star Tribune
Published: September 27, 2023