Blinken Urges Senate to Act to Confirm Biden's Nominees 'For the Sake of Our National Security'

© REUTERS / POOLU.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken delivers remarks on the Biden administration's Indo-Pacific strategy at the Universitas Indonesia in Jakarta, Indonesia December 14, 2021.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken delivers remarks on the Biden administration's Indo-Pacific strategy at the Universitas Indonesia in Jakarta, Indonesia December 14, 2021.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 14.12.2021
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Earlier this month, Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen accused the Republicans of crippling US foreign policy by blocking the confirmation of more than 50 diplomats and national security officials.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has called on the Senate to "act" to confirm President Joe Biden's ambassador picks "for the sake of our national security".
Addressing a press conference during his Indonesia trip, the US top diplomat lamented that the inability to have a full national security team on the ground was "a huge problem", and said he had talked to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer about the issue last night.
Blinken revealed that as of last week, only 16 percent of US ambassadors had been confirmed, compared with the 70-90 percent in the last three administrations.
"And virtually every challenge we face, including dealing with Russia, with China, with non-state factors, we're hampered by the fact that we don't have our full national security and foreign policy team on the field".
Nearly two weeks ago, Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen lashed out at the Republicans for blocking the confirmation of more than 50 diplomatic picks. For instance, Senator Ted Cruz has been blocking a number of nominees over the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that will carry natural gas from Russia to Germany, as he wants the Joe Biden administration to slap sanctions on it.
Supporters of former U.S. President Donald Trump hold up a banner mocking U.S. President Joe Biden as they gather for Trump's first post-presidency campaign rally at the Lorain County Fairgrounds in Wellington, Ohio, U.S., June 26, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920, 12.08.2021
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‘America is Back?’ Biden Proves 95% Less Effective Than Trump in Getting Ambassador Picks Approved
Senator Josh Hawley said he would not greenlight the confirmation of any Defence or State Department nominees until the secretaries of those departments step down for the botched Afghan withdrawal.
Confirmation of Nicholas Burns, Biden's pick for the US ambassador in Beijing, is among the key posts that is still held up.
White House Spokeswoman Jen Psaki said there have been “unprecedented delays, obstruction, holds on qualified individuals from Republicans in the Senate". According to her, this is thwarting the confirmation of ambassadors as well as economic and national security officials.
The GOP blocking State Department picks has angered Democrats and the Biden administration, who have warned that it is undermining the ability to advance American interests abroad. There are over 50 State Department nominees currently awaiting a Senate floor vote.
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