Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Tuesday he will keep the Senate in session over the weekend to stop the Republicans from “obstructing” votes on 158 of President Joe Biden’s nominees, The Hill reported.
“The Republican obstruction of President Biden’s nominees this year has reached a new low,” Schumer told reporters Tuesday afternoon. “We’ve had to file cloture on twice as many nominees at this point in the Biden administration than Republicans had to do under President [Donald] Trump.
“Republicans are intentionally throwing sand in the gears of the Senate’s confirmation process. It’s not all of them, it’s a handful, but the others just go along.”
Schumer said the Senate is trying to use unanimous consent to clear the backlog as soon as possible, and if that continues, he will keep the upper chamber in session through the weekend and into next week.
“If we cannot make much progress, we may need to stay and hold votes on nominees this weekend and next week until we do,” Schumer said.
Specifically, Schumer named Sen. Ted Cruz, R- Texas, and Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., as preventing the votes by placing “holds” on some of the nominees.
Hawley and Cruz are using the “holds” to try and force action by Democrats on issues like holding leaders accountable for the chaotic Afghanistan withdrawal, and Biden’s decision to waive sanctions on the Russian Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline.
Hawley wants resignations from top defense and national security officials for the way the United States pulled out of Afghanistan, which cost the lives of 13 military personnel securing the Kabul airport during the chaos of the August withdrawal from that war-torn nation.
Cruz has offered to drop some of his holds if the leader gave him a vote on legislation that would sanction the pipeline that ships natural gas from Russia to Germany, The Hill reported.
“I have an offer on the table,” Cruz said. “It’s in Schumer’s hands.”
Schumer said he was making Cruz a “counteroffer” on the vote but did not provide further details about what he would agree to.
Hawley and Cruz have kept their holds in place since September, slowing the process for the remaining nominees, according to Roll Call on Sept. 27.
About 150 of the 450 submitted nominees had been approved at the time of the report.